Golf Monthly talks exclusively to Martin Kaymer ahead of the start of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National
Words: Robin Barwick
Martin Kaymer comes into the 2014 Masters beneath radar detection. Despite being a major winner at the 2010 PGA Championship, the 29-year-old German golfer is yet to figure in the running in six previous Masters appearances. His best Masters result was last year, when he finished in a tie for 35th, so it is not a record that grabs attention, yet there was a spark for Kaymer at the end of the 2013 tournament at Augusta. A final round of 70, two under par – a career best on this treacherous golf course – featured a back nine of 32, with six birdies in the last seven holes. At the end of his round, Kaymer did not want to go home.
“I just let go,” recalls Kaymer, who was ranked number one in the world in 2011. “You have to find the right balance at Augusta between controlling certain shots and then just letting go with others. For me that was the best nine holes I have ever played at Augusta. I made a bogey on the 13th, having been close to the green in two, but then I finished with five birdies and built up some momentum, so really I wish there had been a couple more rounds to play last year. I am excited to start again this week and hopefully I can continue where I left off.
“The Masters is probably the biggest test we face each year. As a golfer, at different times you work on different parts of your game, but right now I am working hard on every aspect of my game, and now it is time for me to make the work show in my results.”
Other than his final nine holes here in 2013, there was another nine at Augusta that remain vivid in Kaymer’s memory.
“My first ever nine holes at Augusta was the back nine with Bernhard Langer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus in 2008,” recalls Kaymer, who has enjoyed strong support from his countryman Langer throughout his career. “That was my first ever major and it was a great start for me. It took us a long time to get round the golf course because there were standing ovations on every tee.
“I was a little shy – I was only 22 years old – and I did not really know what to say, but it was great to talk to them. There were three different eras of golf playing in one group, and it was very interesting to talk about how the game has changed, talking about how golf courses and equipment have changed. It seems crazy to think today that when Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were my age, they had to travel to tournaments with their own practice golf balls. Gary told me how he always used to pick up tee pegs whenever he saw them, because they were so expensive back then. Today we just get as many golf balls and tees as we want. We take it for granted.”
Kaymer tees off in the first round at 1:40pm with Americans Craig Stadler and Scott Stallings.
Robin Barwick travelled to Augusta National courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, Global Sponsor of the 2014 Masters Tournament