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Kaymer picks right time to move up a gear

Given that it is the BMW PGA Championship, there are buffed up Beemers sitting everywhere here at Wentworth.

Kaymer is back in form after a miserable 18 months in which he slid down the rankings. Picture: Getty
Kaymer is back in form after a miserable 18 months in which he slid down the rankings. Picture: Getty

It's a bit like the editorial car park at The Herald's HQ.

Martin Kaymer is another of Germany's classic marques. The 29-year-old certainly hit top gear in 2010 when he won his first major title, the US PGA Championship, and then hurtled along the fast lane towards the top of the world rankings at the start of 2011.

Since holing the winning putt in the 2012 Ryder Cup, though, Kaymer has been spluttering and stalling like an old jalopy. That was until he won The Players' Championship at Sawgrass a fortnight ago, of course.

Now he's revving up for an assault on Wentworth's famed West course. Then again, there may not be much left in the tank after six events in the space of seven hectic weeks. And if we shoehorn anymore ropey car clichés into this piece we may have to get the page taxed by the DVLA.

"Physically I feel fit, but the win at the Players took a lot out of me," admitted Kaymer ahead of the European Tour's flagship event, which he gets underway tomorrow in the company of Sergio Garcia and the evergreen Miguel Angel Jimenez. "There's not much you can do. I've played enough golf. Now it is just about resting and trying to be ready on Thursday morning."

Despite his toils, tribulations and tumbles down the world rankings over the past couple of seasons, Kaymer is adamant that his all round game is in the best shape it has ever been. Even when he was making his major breakthrough and rising to the top of the global order, there seems to have been niggling doubts. Now, there is a sense of contentment.

"I can hit any shot that I want to hit, which is important, and I didn't believe that I could do it when I was number one in the world or even when I won the PGA Championship," added this well-oiled golfing machine from Dusseldorf. "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."

Having barged his way back into the limelight with his Players' Championship success, Kaymer, always a thoughtful, considered type of man when plonked in front of the scribbling press pack, knows that it can be easy for onlookers to get carried away. The burden of expectation can weigh heavily but Kaymer is well used to heaving the load and is swift to temper any knee-jerk delusions of grandeur from eager observers.

"It's very important that we don't put it [The Players' Championship win] in the wrong perspective," he said. "As a player I know where I can rank my expectations. Golf is a very difficult sport and it's important that others don't always think that we have to deliver every single week. The German football team are going to play the World Cup in a few weeks, for instance, and when I play golf with different players every week everyone says, 'Oh yeah, Germany should win'. That's a good possibility, but it doesn't mean that we have to win or that you don't keep the expectations low. You can only get disappointed otherwise and there's a lot of pressure that those players have to handle. I think that's what people forget sometimes. It's not that easy."

It won't be easy this week. With a field featuring 10 major champions and all but one of Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup-winning team, the championship has attracted an impressive guest list for its 60th anniversary celebrations.

Among those hoping to revel in the glitz and glamour of the Wentworth showpiece is Glasgow's Marc Warren. The Scot led by a shot with four holes to play in last year's event but, instead of popping the corks, he must have felt like drowning his sorrows as he succumbed in a three-man play-off, won by the Italian youngster, Matteo Manassero.

Warren is back for his eighth appearance at the BMW PGA Championship and, while he has managed only one top-10 finish this season, the two-time European Tour champion is in good spirits heading into affairs this week. "So far this season, I've played a wee bit like the schedule; stop, start," said the former Walker Cup player. "I feel as if I've played well here the last few years and I was so close to winning a year ago. It's our biggest event on tour, so I've been itching to get back here.

"I hadn't seen my coach [Pete Cowen] since the Middle East at the beginning of February so it was great to meet up with him again at the Spanish Open last week. He said the majority of what I was doing was good. Tee to green, I've absolutely no complaints."

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