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Kaymer ready to make St.Andrews his stage once again

By: Golf Shake | Wed 30 Sep 2015

Post by golf journalist, Kieran Clark

Last year, within a period of five weeks, Martin Kaymer had produced triumphant performances in both the Players Championship and U.S. Open. Those victories re-established the former world number one as a force to be reckoned with in the game, with that glittering spell in the May and June of 2014 being a welcome reminder of the form that the likeable German displayed four years previously; in ascending to the summit of the rankings after winning the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Less than 16 months removed from that dominant and mesmerising recital at the historic Pinehurst No. 2, it does seem unimaginable that the Dusseldorf-native would have somehow lost his full PGA Tour status for 2015/16. However, that is the bewildering reality; despite having recently won the American circuit’s flagship event.

In not qualifying for the money-spinning FedEx Cup Playoffs, Kaymer failed to fulfil his obligation of competing in a minimum of 15 events to maintain membership. Some may understandably cite poor scheduling and mediocre results as being the ultimate instigator of this situation. After-all, the rules are the same for everyone. Those stipulations do feel disappointedly flawed and insular, however.

Kaymer pictured at the 2015 Open Championship at St Andrews

St Andrews

It would be fair to conclude that the main beneficiaries of this whole episode are the European Tour, who can now bank on more regular appearances from one of their leading players. Notably, Kaymer’s most promising results this season have actually come on his “home” tour, with top five finishes being recorded in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and France being the highlights before his runner-up placing in Italy a fortnight ago.

Returning to the east coast of Scotland and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – where he was victorious during that sparkling campaign of 2010 – the 30-year-old is more than content with his lot in Europe, and is certainly eager to make the Old Course of St. Andrews his stage for a second time.

“It's a golf course and a golf tournament I look forward to every year,” said the German to the assembled media during his press conference in Fife. “It’s a place I enjoy and that I’m very passionate about.”

Though to be found with a warm and calm demeanour, like any successful sportsman, Kaymer possesses a steely determination and resilience, which has proven to be an asset during previous instances of mixed form. That was especially true during 2011 and 2012, when inconsistency crept in following the implementation of swing changes.

“I’ve been playing very well recently and the only thing missing is a win. It feels very close. I need to work on little things here and there, but nothing I need to worry about,” added Kaymer when reflecting on what had been a disappointing summer. “It’s hard to win golf tournaments, it doesn’t matter how big the tournament is. You need a bit of luck and sometimes you get it.”

That particular ingredient was perhaps absent during the final round of the Open d’Italia, where he lost in a playoff to maiden-winner Rikard Karlberg. However, it was an indication that the two-time major champion is potentially set for a promising conclusion to 2015, with the lucrative Final Series and its climatic Dubai riches just around the corner.

A 12th victory on the European Tour – which would take him ahead of both Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia – may just come in this week’s pro-am championship.

Unlike a number of players, Kaymer relishes the unique format and atmosphere of the tournament. Six-hour-rounds and being subjected to the travails of an 18-handicapper may not be the favoured experience for a tournament professional to be involved in during a high-profile event, but the dynamics are somewhat different for the three-time Ryder Cup participant.

“This year I’m playing with my dad again and my brother will caddie for him,” Kaymer continued. “It will be entertaining. My dad likes to play by feel, but my brother tries to give him tips and advice, so once in a while they argue, which is quite funny.

“It’s somewhere in between a round of golf with friends and a tournament round. It’s more relaxed. Sometimes in professional sport you can get so serious and so caught up in what you’re doing, so it’s nice just to enjoy it and have fun.”
Embracing the joviality of the event, Kaymer (ably assisted by his own caddie Craig Connelly) is always a significant threat on the links of St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, with a runner-up finish to Robert Karlsson in 2008 being his first taste of contention at the Home of Golf.

Though we are just under literally a year away from the biennial showpiece, there are Ryder Cup implications for Kaymer and many of the other players in the field. With significant points on offer in Scotland, this week is an opportunity to lay the foundations of a run towards Darren Clarke’s team at Hazeltine in 2016. Playing a busier schedule on the continent – in addition to the majors and WGCs – the European Tour points list may prove to ultimately be Kaymer’s likely route into the side.

For all of its quirks and frustrations, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a chance to retrieve a season (or career, as Oliver Wilson illustrated) and set the groundwork for future success. Martin Kaymer is once again building towards something special, and it could just happen this week. He is back in Europe and ready to win again. 

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Tags: Martin Kaymer european tour

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