Germany’s challenge for a third victory in the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup hangs in the balance – thanks to a rare illness to Alex Cejka which is every golfer’s worst nightmare.
The 40 year old, who is scheduled to partner Martin Kaymer at Mission Hills Resort, Hainan Island, from November 24-27, has missed the past three months of the 2011 season after inexplicably picking up an allergy to grass.
As the game is played on that very substance, Cejka’s recovery from been a long and laborious process. However, the exciting prospect of combining with Kaymer in China for the fourth time is inspiring the four-time European Tour winner to regain his fitness in order to tee up with the 2010 US
The Cejka-Kaymer pairing has never been out of the top seven in their three previous collaborations, finishing tied sixth at Mission Hills Dongguan in 2007, fifth in 2008 and tied seventh in 2009 as they attempted to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Germany’s two previous World Cup-winning partnerships, Bernhard Langer and Torsten Giedeon (1990) and Langer and Marcel Siem (2006).
Cejka, who will representing his country for the 11th time in total since 1995, the year he captured the season-ending Volvo Masters on The European Tour, has been undergoing a series of de-sensitising injections in a bid to overcome the illness, which struck without warning.
He said: “I just developed an allergy to some of the histamines which are found in grass, and cause me to break out on a rash all over my body and for my hands and wrists to swell up. It is incredibly frustrating and I haven’t been able to play in Europe since the French Open in June.”
Cejka attempted to compete in the recent Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children event on the US PGA Tour but, after an opening 65, the allergy returned and was largely responsible for a second round 74 which resulted in a missed cut.
However, Cejka hasn’t given up hope of joining Kaymer at the newest Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island. He added: “I am 100% committed to playing in the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup. I have been practising hard at home in Las Vegas and am hopeful of getting a start in one of the European Tour events in Asia prior to the World Cup. I am happy to play anywhere to get some much needed competitive action before getting to China.”
Kaymer admitted: “I hope I can play with Alex and really hope he makes it. Alex and I get along well together, we’ve usually played well together and have always finished high up. Obviously, this is a different course but the thing about Alex is that he is consistent. Germany won the event in 2006 so why not again?”
Kaymer has a clear recollection of Germany’s last victory in Barbados five years ago, and added: “It was a great performance by Bernhard and Marcel to win the title after a play-off with Scotland. The World Cup is a big thing. We don’t play team events very often and my big goal in the future is to the win the World Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal.
“There is nothing quite like winning something for your country. I would like to see more team events. It would help us in terms of playing in the Ryder Cup but it is also great fun to partner someone you know well. “