Ryder Cup winner and DTM champion put their skills to the test on unusual territory at over 2,000 metres above sea level.
Kühtai/Austria. They both have career-defining moments behind them: Bruno Spengler won the driver, team and manufacturer titles in the DTM with BMW Motorsport, fighting back to overcome what was at one point a 40-point deficit to do so. Martin Kaymer was also one of the key figures in a mighty comeback: at this year’s Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club (USA), Team European recovered from four points down going into the singles to defeat the USA team and equal the biggest comeback of all time in the process. BMW Brand Ambassador Kaymer sank the putt that ensured the Ryder Cup would return to Europe – a putt he himself described as the most important shot of his life. Both Spengler and Kaymer showed they have the heart of a fight and that nothing knocks them out of their stride. They are true winners.
BMW works driver Spengler and Major-winner Kaymer provided emphatic proof of their character in Kühtai in the Austrian Tyrol at the end of December. The BMW xDrive Mountain Challenge saw the Canadian and the German go head to head on winding mountain roads and in a golf match on the 2,447-metre high Pirchkogel. It all came down to a somewhat alien discipline for both of them: sledging – and in extremely challenging winter conditions, with icy temperatures of minus 15 degrees Celsius.
The two successful sportsmen were on their own when it came to the rather peculiar golf match, however. The first tee took them to new heights: Kaymer and Spengler teed up in a cable car and drove their opening shots through the open door into the snowy nothingness. Not a shot for those with weak nerves, but tailor-made for the two comeback champions.
The pair ended the challenge by hurtling back down into the valley on sledges. Having negotiated heavy snow drifts, they both crossed the finish line neck and neck, giving a spectacular day the thrilling finale it deserved.
“Martin was a tough opponent, but that much was already clear before we started I am an enthusiastic golfer myself, and obviously followed the action at the Ryder Cup closely as he sank that putt under such immense pressure,” said Spengler. “He showed nerves of steel again today. It was great to compete against Martin in the BMW xDrive Mountain Challenge and to overcome all these challenges.”
Kaymer said: “Today I learned exactly why Bruno Spengler won the DTM. He is simply impossible to shake off and fights right down to the last second. The duel with him was tougher than a lot of what I usually experience on the golf course. This kind of competition between sportsmen is great fun. It was a fantastic day.”