Kaymer targets win as Ryder Cup preparation

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The Independent Online

The USPGA champion Martin Kaymer makes his European homecoming this week admitting that his excitement is already growing ahead of the Ryder Cup.

The German will return to action for the first time since his major triumph last month when he appears at the KLM Open in Holland. His success at Whistling Straits will be quickly followed by his Ryder Cup debut for Europe at Celtic Manor next month, and after a break following the USPGA, Kaymer is eager to get going again.

"I had a three-week vacation straight after the win which was very nice," he said. "This is a very nice week for me to play because it is close to home. It was only a two-hour drive and my family and some friends are coming over this week. This feels like a second German event for me because it is so close to home."

Kaymer also has a chance to move further ahead in the European money order list, with his main rivals, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood, taking a break from golf. Kaymer will be playing for the first time since going top of the Race to Dubai by winning his first major last month. He is ¤200,000 in front of McDowell, the US Open champion, and ¤430,000 clear of Westwood.

But rather than cash in, Kaymer is thinking of the Ryder Cup. After coming up slightly short for Valhalla two years ago, the German breezed it this time around with his big win across the Atlantic. "Two years ago I really felt the pressure to get into the Ryder Cup team but this year is very different," he admitted. "I qualified easily by winning the PGA and I see this week as a good way to get ready for the Ryder Cup. It is nice for me to come back to Holland where I used to come with my parents in the past because it is so close to home.

"I would have to say that my expectations are a lot higher today than they were when I last played the KLM [two years ago]. We will see how it goes after three weeks off but I feel good, rested and I think I am ready to win again."

Ryder Cup team-mates Ross Fisher – a winner of the KLM Open three years ago – and Francesco Molinari are in the field in Holland, the latter seeking a first win since the 2006 Italian Open. Kaymer's fellow 2010 golden boy, Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, will also be among the contenders in Hilversum.

Padraig Harrington will complete his Ryder Cup preparations at this month's Vivendi Cup after he was eliminated from the FedEx Cup Series last weekend.

The Irishman, a wild card selection for Europe's Ryder Cup team, was eliminated from the end-of-season PGA Tour series after he missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

That left Harrington with a gap in his schedule before he heads to Celtic Manor and while he considered entering the Irish PGA Championship, he has opted to join Ryder Cup team-mates Peter Hanson and Edoardo Molinari in Paris.

It will be the first time Harrington has competed at the event, which takes place a week before the Ryder Cup starts on 1 October. "I am really looking forward to playing in the Vivendi Cup. Having heard many great things about the Golf de Joyenval, I am delighted to be playing there for the first time."