With the Porsche European Open taking place this week in Hamburg, Germany, we thought what better way to celebrate than with a list of the top 5 greatest male German golfers ever!
Germany has had a number of great players over the years, with two standing out in particular and another making waves on the PGA Champions Tour. So sit back, relax and enjoy the article!
The Honourable Mention this week goes to Stephan Jäger. Jäger is a talented player, there’s no doubt about that. His problem is that he hasn’t converted that talent on the big stage. In over 50 starts on the PGA Tour he has only ever managed two top twenty finishes.
So why is he on this list?
Jäger has been an absolute force to be reckoned with on the Korn Ferry Tour, the developmental tour for the PGA Tour. Since 2016 he has won 6 times, which puts him in second place on the all-time most wins on the Korn Ferry Tour, 1 behind Jason Gore. He currently sits atop of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour points list after 1 win and three top fives in ten events and he looks certain to achieve full playing rights on the PGA Tour next year.
Is it a case of being caught between two tours? Being too good for the Korn Ferry Tour but not quite good enough for the PGA Tour? We don’t think so. For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened for Jäger yet under the bright lights of the PGA Tour but we don’t expect this to continue going forward. Once Jäger gets a decent performance or two under his belt he will thrive.
5. Sven Strüver
Strüver may not be a household name but he has competed in over 450 European Tour events, making almost 250 cuts.
The German’s career looked promising from his amateur days. In 1989, having only turned 22 a few weeks earlier, Strüver shot a 62 at the German Open. This was the lowest ever round shot by an amateur on the European Tour and would remain uncontested for 20 years until Shane Lowry matched him at the 2009 Irish Open.
A year later, in 1990, he reached the finals of the Spanish International Amateur Championship only to fall short against Darren Clarke in the final. After this he turned professional and embarked on his European Tour career.
He gained full status on the Tour in 1992 and retained his card for a full decade before losing it after the 2002 season. Following this he would visit the tour school each year until 2008, displaying his grit and determination to earn his card on 3 occasions.
His career petered out after this, and from 2009 to 2016 he only played a total of 23 European Tour events. In 2018 he transitioned into the European Legend’s Tour and to date he has made 7 appearances without making his mark in any of them.
While the later parts of Strüver’s career are forgettable, he did have a number of successes. He picked up 3 wins on tour, in ’96, ’97 and ’98 and three runner-up finishes. 1998 was without doubt the finest year of his career where he made 25 cuts out of 27 events and finished 13th in the European Tour’s Order of Merit.
Strüver didn’t have the same impact as some of the other golfers on this list but does enough to claim 5th spot.
4. Marcel Siem
The mercurial Siem has always been a bit of a headscratcher. Loads of talent and unfortunately just not the temperament to back it up. He could play the most magnificent golf on a Thursday only to become frustrated and post a high number on the Friday. He has no doubt had – and is still having – a successful career, however it does seem like he never quite made the most of his potential.
Similar to Strüver, he played in over 450 European Tour events although had more success. Siem claimed 4 victories in his European Tour career and another in the World Cup of Golf alongside Bernhard Langer. The first of these victories came in 2004 when he was only aged 23 and he recorded a further 5 top 10 finishes that season.
Although it looked like Siem was ready to take the step up to the next level, a number of mediocre years followed and he would have to wait until 2012 before winning again. This turned a page for the German as he would go onto win in 2013 and 2014, the latter being his most successful year in golf. He made 20 of 22 cuts, finished 7th on the Order of Merit and recorded his best result in a major championship after finishing T12th in the US Open.
Unfortunately, his performances dipped after this and he now sits ranked 525 in the world, having at one point slipped outside of the top 1,000 in 2020. He has had to go back to the Challenge Tour in order to rebuild his career and there are promising signs after he finished 4th at the Dormy Open a couple of weeks ago.
Aged 40, Siem still has a lot of mileage left in him. Hopefully he can get back to his best once more and enjoy more successes in his career.
3. Alex Cejka
Cejka has the most interesting backstories of anyone on this list. Born in 1970 in Communist Czechoslovakia, his upbringing was fraught with danger. Aged 9, his father took the risk of escaping the country along with Alex. As Cejka himself says, they had no idea of the dangers of the journey or how they were going to get to freedom but thankfully they made it into Germany where he would eventually be given citizenship.
This opened up a world of opportunity to Cejka and he seized it with both hands. In his career so far, he has had 16 professional wins around the world and now that he is making waves on the Champions Tour, that number is likely to rise.
Although turning pro in 1989 at the age of 18, it wasn’t until 1994 that he would get to play his first full year on tour. Whilst retaining his card, the year was underwhelming with only two top ten finishes all season and it seemed especially mediocre compared to the following season.
In 1995 Cejka would record three wins on the European Tour and finish 6th on the Order of Merit. Things looked like they would take off for Cejka but, like Siem, he had a bit of a wait before he could claim his next victory. 7 years, in fact, when in 2002 he would claim the Lancome Trophy.
After this he moved to America to ply his trade on the PGA Tour. 2003 was a solid year showing a lot of potential, especially after a career best major finish of 4th at the PGA Championship. His career continued in a similar vein and he racked up 27 top tens between 2004 and 2011 but never quite getting over the line.
His career would experience a lull and after a poor 2012 season he lost his PGA Tour card. He spent two years on the Korn Ferry Tour, claiming a victory early on in 2014 which was enough to make him retain his card.
At forty-four, you could be excused for thinking that the best days of Cejka’s career were behind him. You would also be wrong. In 2015 he claimed his first PGA Tour victory at the Puerto Rico Open and continued his strong form for another few seasons.
In 2021 he became eligible for the Champions Tour and has made an incredible impact after only 5 tournaments. A T2nd at the Chubb Classic was then followed up with two Senior major wins in the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship. Two majors, two wins. Can’t really argue with that!
There are 5 majors on the Seniors Tour. The big question now is if he can do the unthinkable and complete the calendar Senior Major Grand Slam!
2. Martin Kaymer
A player that needs no introduction. A former world number one with 23 professional wins, 2 major victories and 1 winning putt of what is arguably the most memorable Ryder Cup in history, the 2012 Miracle at Medinah.
Kaymer always looked to be on the road to superstardom. He claimed his first win on a professional tour when he was still an amateur, aged just 20. This led him to turn pro and the following year he won 5 times on the EPD Tour, a satellite tour to the European Tour. And most of these he won in style, recording a seven-stroke victory on two occasions and an incredible ten shot victory at the Habsburg Open where he carded a magical 59 in the second round.
Then it was onto the main tour and it didn’t take Kaymer long to announce his arrival there, winning twice in ’08 and twice again in ’09. He stepped up to another level again in 2010, claiming four victories, three in consecutive appearances and one of which was the PGA Championship. He would also go on to win the Race to Dubai this year and cracked the world’s top ten for the first time.
Kaymer became the number one ranked golfer in the world in 2011 thanks to an early season win and runner up finish in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. He held the top spot for 8 weeks before relinquishing the position to Lee Westwood, the same man he had taken it from.
The German would continue to play world class golf in the years that followed with 2014 being another memorable year as he claimed the Players Championship and his second major, the US Open, with an eight-shot victory.
Unfortunately, his game went on a slide since then. He has not recorded a professional victory for 7 years and in 2019 he came perilously close to falling outside the top 200 in the world. Some put this down to Kaymer attempting to change his game and learn to hit a draw instead of his usual fade in order to be more competitive in the Masters.
Regardless of the reason, Kaymer has gotten himself back inside the world’s top 100 and a win this week at the Porsche Open could be the catalyst to him getting back to top form. Still only 36, it’s something we would all love to see from one of the calmest and nicest players on tour.
1. Bernhard Langer
Only one player could have ever claimed top spot here. Bernhard Langer’s career is nothing short of exceptional and any blog on it could easily fill tens of thousands of words (don’t worry I’m going to keep it brief!) Before I have a look at how his career has progressed, here’s a few stats for you.
117 professional wins. 42 European Tour wins – second of all time. 41 Champions Tour wins – second of all time. 11 Senior Major wins – first of all time. 2 major victories. Oldest player to make the cut at the Masters. And the accolades go on and on and on.
Langer embarked on his professional career back in 1972 aged just 15 years of age! He won his first professional event in 1975 at the German National Open Championship, a tournament he would go on to win 12 times. 5 years later, and he claimed his first win on the European Tour. 22 years later and he signed off on his 42nd win on the tour, uniquely sharing the trophy with Colin Montgomerie after failing light halted play.
Langer topped the European Tour Order of Merit twice, in 1981 and 1984, and is a two-time Masters champion, in 1985 and 1993. He holds the honour of being the first ever golfer to hold the number 1 spot when the World Golf Rankings were introduced back in 1986.
It comes as no surprise that he was also a stalwart for Europe at the Ryder Cup. A career built on accuracy and determination suits the event perfectly and Langer made 10 playing appearances and 1 successful captain’s appearance. He has the third highest number of points for Europe at 24 and has the tied highest number of foursomes points with 11½.
He was such a good Ryder Cup player and made such a good start to his Senior’s career that there were serious calls for Colin Montgomerie to pick him as part of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team aged 52. Alas that did not happen but it did nothing to detract from the German’s great record.
He now plies his trade on the Champions Tour and recently became the oldest player to make the cut at the delayed 2020 Masters and there can be no doubting that Langer is one of the greatest golfers to have ever played the game.
And that concludes our list of the 5 Best Male German Golfers of All Time. Previously we have done a similar list for Danish golfers that can be viewed here and if you’d like to keep up to date with all our content then follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We look forward to seeing you there!