Ice Cool Kaymer looks to end drought
Sport Eagle’s The Masters 2012 Preview with Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer is the current world number 4 ranked golfer and goes into the 78th edition of The Masters Tournament with a point to prove. He has failed to make the cut in any of his four appearances at the year’s first major so far, including last year when he came in as the world’s top ranked golfer.
“Last year was a special and new situation for me, I tried to make everything perfect last year in Augusta,” admitted Kaymer to Sport Eagle. “As #1 you are expected to make the cut, so I wasn’t happy with my performance.”
The German’s rise to the top was boosted by four wins including at the 2010 PGA Championship in August 2010 and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January 2011. Despite losing the WGC Match Play Championship in the final to Luke Donald, Kaymer passed Lee Westwood as the top golfer heading into The Masters last year. After not making the cut, Westwood reclaimed the top spot.
Kaymer had set the bar high for himself and didn’t play up to expectations by not winning any major last year. However, he ended 2011 in a positive note, defeating Fredrik Jacobson at the WGC-HSBC Champions back in November in Shanghai. Kaymer’s current form is good and he will be looking to re-establish himself as the number 1 in the world, and what better way than win what is considered by most the hardest PGA event in the world. The course is renowned for its tight unforgiving holes and increasingly difficult to read greens.
There are a lot of challenges ahead. The legendary Augusta National Club, for one, the rising talent of the European golfers, and of course, Tiger Woods’ recent resurgence. This year’s event is considered by many the most open in years. Everyone in the field will have a chance; however the shadow of Woods has increased the past two weeks after his win that may signal the return of dominance and his chase for the majors record.
“You should always consider him as a favourite for any tournament,” predicted Kaymer. “I think he has shown us incredible golf for more than a decade. It’s just great to have him back on track.”
Along with Woods, last year’s breakout star Rory McIlroy is also considered as one who can win the famed Green Jacket, given to the winner of The Masters. Last year, the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland led the tournament the first three days, blasting through the field. However, he shot the worst round ever by a leader the final day and finished 15th.
McIlroy shook off the disappointment and won the year’s second major, the U.S. Open, taking the lead in similar fashion at Augusta, but this time did not falter and finished strong. He ended 2011 with a win in Hong Kong, and has started 2012 solid, including rising to the top of the rankings for two weeks in March after winning the Honda Classic.
Donald took over after his win at the Transitions Championship. His record at majors hasn’t been as successful as Kaymer’s. Donald may not have won a major but he certainly has the experience winning plenty of smaller titles and events, this is why his return to number 1 is no surprise. Luke’s best attribute is his consistency, which can help with winning such a title. The only question mark is, whether or not he has the natural skill to shoot a 10-under, something that recent winners and Tiger were able to do.
So, who will win? Will Donald ride his top ranking to the clubhouse as the winner? Does McIlroy have the strength of mind to match his raw ability to stay calm under pressure? Has Tiger moved past his injuries and demons to return to his chase for history and earn his fifth Masters win? Or can Kaymer be the surprise this year and overcome the pressures of playing at Augusta?
“I never had strong issues with pressure, I don’t know why, but I think this is just a part of my personality,” admitted Kaymer. “Golf is still just a game and I always enjoy playing it. Bernhard Langer once said I have an old head on young shoulders. Maybe he’s right.”
Martin certainly has a cool head. We just need to see if he turns up for the event with his “A” game.
Stay with Sport Eagle for up-to-date news regarding Martin’s, Tiger’s and the field’s progress during The Masters. Follow Salman Mitha (@Sal_SportEagle) who will be tweeting during the year’s first major.
World Golf Rankings
1. Luke Donald (ENG)
2. Rory McIlroy (NIR)
3. Lee Westwood (ENG)
4. Hunter Mahan (USA)
5. Steve Stricker (USA)
6. Martin Kaymer (GER)
7. Tiger Woods (USA)
8. Charl Schwartzel (RSA)
9. Justin Rose (ENG)
10. Webb Simpson (USA)
Notable Tee Times
Group 6 8:45 AM EDT/14:45 CET
Adam Scott (AUS), Bo Van Pelt (USA), Martin Kaymer (GER)
Group 14 10:24 AM EDT/16:24 CET
Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Keegan Bradley (USA), Kelley Kraft (USA)
Group 15 10:35 AM EDT/16:35 CET
Tiger Woods (USA), Miguel Ángel Jiménez (SPA), Sang-Moon Bae (KOR)
Group 16 10:46 AM EDT/16:46 CET
Luke Donald (ENG), Francesco Molinari (ITA), Nick Watney (USA)
Group 31 1:42 PM/19:42 CET
Ángel Cabrera (ARG), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Bubba Watson (USA)