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It’s a rebirth for Kaymer, who reached No. 1 in the world in February 2011, only to believe that he needed a more rounded game. His preferred shot was a fade. Kaymer spent two hard years, a lot of lonely hours on the range in Germany and his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He fell as low as No. 63 in the world until going wire-to-wire (with ties) at The Players Championship, considered the strongest and deepest field in golf.

But the big payoff came at Pinehurst No. 2.

“I didn’t make many mistakes the last two wins that I had in America — especially this week,” said Kaymer, who moves to No. 11 in the world.

Kaymer has as many majors as Bernhard Langer, the two-time Masters champion and a mentor to Kaymer. Langer sent him text messages earlier in the week.

“We’ve almost a German Grand Slam — almost,” Kaymer said. “I hope it will make Bernhard proud. I’m sure it will make all of Germany proud.”

The biggest challenge for Kaymer was tuning out the crowd, with enormous support for Fowler, who enjoys pop star qualities in America. The fans clapped when Kaymer’s ball bounded off the back of the green, and even when a superb shot from the native weeds on No. 4 rolled off the front of the green.

He marched along, dropping a shot on No. 7 with a shot left of the green that made him play away from a bunker to avoid a score worse than bogey, and another on the par-5 10th when a shot from the sandy area sailed over the green, and he used putter to send the next shot back toward the fairway.

But after back-to-back birdies, including a 30-footer on the 14th, the only question left was the margin.

Woods still holds the most dominant U.S. Open win — 15 shots at Pebble Beach in 2000. McIlroy won by eight shots on rain-softened Congressional in 2011, winning with a record score of 16-under 268.

“I’m wondering how he did it,” McIlroy said. “Obviously, if you limit the mistakes, you might end up a couple under for the week. But to do what he’s doing … I think it’s nearly more impressive than what I did at Congressional.”

Kaymer’s father was home in Germany, where he said Father’s Day was celebrated a few weeks ago.

“I didn’t get anything for my father that day,” Kaymer said. “So maybe this works.”

Among those who congratulated Kaymer on the 18th green was Sandra Gal, a German player on the LPGA Tour. The Women’s U.S. Open takes over Pinehurst No. 2 on Monday.