With just a few days to go before The Masters Tournament, europeantour.com hears from some of the leading contenders to win the first Major of the season. Next up, Martin Kaymer…
World Number Six Martin Kaymer is relishing the challenge of trying to emulate his friend and mentor Bernhard Langer, the first and so far only German to have won the Masters Tournament.
Kaymer’s confidence heading into the first Major of the 2012 season has been boosted by a dynamic display at last month’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he finished in tied 20th place, and the 2010 US PGA Champion has now set his sights on doubling his tally of Major titles at Augusta National.
The 27 year old from Düsseldorf is yet to make the cut on four previous visits to the iconic course in Georgia, America, and is intent on improving a record which is at odds with his status as one of the world’s leading players.
Indeed, 12 months ago Kaymer went into the Masters Tournament ranked as the leading player on the planet, but struggled to find the right approach to conquer Augusta National in the manner of Langer, who triumphed there in 1985 and 1993.
As part of his preparations this year Kaymer will play a practice round with Langer, whose Masters Tournament triumph in 1993 came at the expense of the late, great Seve Ballesteros, who finished joint runner-up alongside the American duo of Ray Floyd and Curtis Strange.
Kaymer remembers watching Langer’s exploits as a fresh-faced nine year old and, 19 years later, he is now hopeful of slipping on the famous Green Jacket himself.
He said: “I feel a lot better about my game this year than I did last time. I’ve changed a few things in my swing, and they are working well. I’ll go a little bit earlier to Augusta, maybe the weekend before, to try to prepare better.
“A few tee shots at Augusta don’t really suit my eye, but it’s obviously a great course and it’s up to me to try to find a way to play it. Hopefully playing a practice round with Bernhard will help me. The great thing is it’s probably the biggest challenge that I have, so I’m really looking forward to going back there to try to win that challenge.
“As I said, I feel much better about my game this time. These days I can shape the ball much more than I could last year, which is what you need at Augusta, so I’m much more confident than I have been in the past. I’m really excited about it.”
If Kaymer could reproduce the poise and panache he displayed coming down the stretch at Whistling Straits two years ago, there is a very good chance that, come April 8, the quietly-spoken German will be generating some of the roars which have made Augusta National famous.