Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer’s unbelievable Abu Dhabi record may have come shuddering to a halt 12 months ago, but the German remains confident he can collect a fourth title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week.
The 2008, 2010 and 2011 winner – he was also second in 2009 – was a shock absentee for the weekend action last year after missing the cut.
“Some years it suits my eye, some years it doesn't,” said the 28 year old. “I've been here six times - I've won three times and missed the cut twice, so either one might happen this week. It's just a golf course, obviously if you come from a long break, you're very motivated to play golf again.
“I'm coming here to a golf course that I really like and have been successful on; that I never really have to play against my feel, which is very rare on golf courses where you go and you can really feel very comfortable.”
While Europe’s Ryder Cup hero from Medinah can look forward to starting his 2013 campaign on a course he clearly loves, the former US PGA Champion must do so in the company of World Numbers One and Two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
However, Kaymer insists playing with the sport’s two biggest superstars will not be a distraction – in fact he believes it can help spur him to get back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, a position he held two years ago.
“It's always nice to play with them,” he added. “Obviously I get along with Rory and I get along with Tiger, so it will be a lot more people out there tomorrow.
“I'm ready to compete against the best. If it's enough for Number One, we will see. I still have to work on a lot of things and that is the great thing. In everything you achieve, I think the journey is the fun part and I'm right on the journey now.
“I don't know where the journey will get me to, if it's Number One, if it's Number Five, that will be the nice part. Just knowing that I will get up there eventually, and then I can compete against Rory, Tiger, Phil and all those guys again, that's the exciting part.
“What happened the last two years, I changed a lot and I learned a lot about myself. It's just knowing that you get the maximum out of your sport and out of yourself.
“I expect myself to play a lot better; to be more often in contention, because I gained a lot of confidence. I played better golf; that's just a fact.
“I'm more confident in my swing again. It feels the same when I came out here, just the head is a little bit more mature and I have more experience on the golf course.”