Martin Kaymer returns home to Germany for this week’s BMW International Open hoping to drive off with the title and rekindle memories of one of his most sentimental victories to date.
The US PGA Champion, who spent two months as World Number One earlier this season, became the first German to win the BMW International Open in 2008 when he held off Dane Anders Hansen, a two-time BMW PGA Champion, in a play-off at Golfclub München Eichenried, a win he dedicated to his mother just before she died.
Since that tearful win Kaymer’s career has gone from strength to strength, winning his first Major Championship last year, making a Ryder Cup debut and winning The 2010 Race to Dubai. He heads to Munich straight from a tied 39th place finish in the US Open searching for his tenth European Tour title after picking up his ninth win in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January.
Problems off the tee frustrated the 26 year old in Maryland last week but in a tournament sponsored by the famous German car manufacturer BMW, Kaymer hopes to realign his normally flawless driving and delight the home crowds for a second time in four years.
“I just couldn’t get my driving going last week,” said Kaymer. “Usually I’m hitting it longer than the other guys so I’m one or two clubs less but I just couldn’t last week. If you are hitting longer clubs you can’t make the birdies.
“I like the golf course and it is a very good tournament, very well organised. For me it is nice to be home for a week. It’s nice to play at home in front of my friends and have the support of the Germans and give a little bit back.
“My driving was a little bit better in the final round of the US Open and I just need to swing it a little better. I’ll see my coach in Germany on Tuesday and make a little adjustment. My swing change is a process I’m going through and I just thought it might be a little quicker. I know I’ll get there but I just need patience. I made the cut at the US Open with problems with my swing so that tells me I’m not too far away from playing well again.”
Kaymer will be looking to reclaim the title for Germany after two successive English winners, Nick Dougherty winning in 2009 and David Horsey succeeding him last year.
Horsey came from five strokes back to win by one shot from Ross Fisher 12 months ago, a final round 67 sealing his maiden European Tour title. The 26 year old added a second title to his CV when he won a play-off in the Trophée Hassan II in March having established himself as regular contender on The European Tour since winning the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2008.
Other former champions in the field include Colin Montgomerie (1999), Thomas Björn (2000 and 2002), Miguel Angel Jiménez (2004), David Howell (2005), Henrik Stenson (2006) and Niclas Fasth (2007).
They will be joined by Sergio Garcia who continues to rediscover his form after finishing tied seventh in last week’s US Open.