BMW PGA Championship 2014: Martin Kaymer finds satisfaction from second coming after struggling with being No 1
His win at The Players Championship substantiated his status as a golfer of the highest class and re-inforced Europe's credentials as a powerful golfing hub
The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is the one week of the year when the European Tour gets to puff out its chest and preen on home turf. In the United States the PGA Tour continues to set golf's commercial agenda, attracting blue-chip sponsors and huge crowds to its well-upholstered events.
The European Tour's big numbers play out in distant lands far beyond its geographical borders, in China, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Only at headquarters in the leafy barrio of Virginia Water does Europe pack a hefty punch in its ancient heartland, with Wentworth dressed up in its best bib and tucker.
Eleven of the team that won the Ryder Cup for Europe two years ago tee up this week, led by the man who sank the winning putt, the wonderfully resurrected Martin Kaymer, who reminded America of his prowess a fortnight ago with victory at the PGA Tour's flagship tournament, The Players Championship.
That win substantiated Kaymer's status as a golfer of the highest class and re-inforced Europe's credentials as a powerful golfing hub. To roll out Kaymer this week alongside US Open champion Justin Rose, the reconstituted Rory McIlroy, and the rapidly improving Lee Westwood does Wentworth and the Tour no harm at all.
Kaymer has been on the road in America for seven of the past eight weeks. Next week he heads back to Germany for a week of cultural immersion in the fatherland but he does not need a double bratwurst and sauerkraut to feel at home.
It was enough to step onto a British Airways flight to London to be restored.
It has been a long walk back to swinging freely after the heady days of major championship victory and the world No 1 ranking. His success at the 2010 US PGA Championship was thought to be the catalyst for serial plunder. It might yet be, but the inner perfectionist in Kaymer would scupper that idea first time around.
The power fade that took him to the top imposed its own limits on scope. He felt he needed to draw the ball better to justify the hype.
Two years sliding down the rankings from No 1 to 61 in the week of The Players was testament to the travails endured. He had been telling those close to him that he was inching towards a second flowering of his talent. The win at Sawgrass was a mighty statement.
"Playing wise, I played really well [in 2010]," Kaymer said. "But I didn't think that I can hit any shot that I want to hit, which is important.
"I didn't believe that when I was No 1 in the world or even when I won the PGA Championship. It was very easy for me to play golf, but it was not satisfying. So now I would say I'm a more complete player."
Kaymer is still in the full flush of euphoria following his return to the top of the game. The Players is in terms of historic prestige only a whisker shy of major status and in the minds of the pros, occupies the same ground. The trick now is to deal with expectation.
"Golf is a very difficult sport. It's important that we don't put it in the wrong perspective and think that I should play well every week."
Eleven-year-old to play at US Women's Open
The US Women's Open will have its youngest-ever player when 11-year-old Lucy Li tees off at Pinehurst on 19 June. Li, who won a qualifier in California, beats the record set by fellow American Lexi Thompson who played at the 2007 tournament aged 12.
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