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Stealing back the spotlight

MARTIN Kaymer's eight-shot victory in the US Open last month went virtually unnoticed in his native Germany due to the fact it was recorded the day before the World Cup got underway.

Martin Kaymer is in form and one of the favourites to win. Picture: Getty Sport
Martin Kaymer is in form and one of the favourites to win. Picture: Getty Sport

One of Kaymer's famous countrymen, though, did fleetingly take his focus off the impending finals over in Brazil to pay tribute to the remarkable performance at Pinehurst. "Thomas Mueller did a television interview and one of the first things he said was that it was nice way to start the World Cup with Martin Kaymer winning the US Open," he said.

"The media was full of coverage of the German national team. So what Thomas did was a very nice gesture and was very helpful for golf in our country. There was definitely more of a response after that."

There has not, of course, been anything like the reaction that Joachim Loew and his charges have received since their extra-time victory over Argentina in the final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Yet Kaymer, one of the favourites to win the Open here at Hoylake this week, is not in the slightest bit concerned or put out by the lack of recognition his achievement has been given in comparison. The 29-year-old is personal friends with many of the Bayern Munich players in the German squad and revealed they were in contact with him during the duration of the tournament.

"The players sent me videos of how they were putting in their rooms, chipping on the beach and playing golf on the course that was next door to their hotel," he said. "When I am in Munich we sometimes play together. We compare sports. We can learn a lot from each other. I always learn a lot from some of the best athletes we have. Fitness-wise they help me."

The man who holed the winning putt for the European team in the Ryder Cup in Medinah two years ago has, like every German, been buoyed greatly by the richly-deserved World Cup triumph. He feels, too, that he can draw inspiration from the display of his national team both in the Maracana and in their games leading up to the final.

"It was very interesting to see how they played," he said. "There were some similarities to golf. They played vary patiently, very smart. They were waiting. They didn't try to force anything because they knew they were good enough. In golf, there are no great secrets. You just play your game, use the opportunities that you get, don't make any silly mistakes and wait. That is all you can do.

"Every team has a bad day. Germany didn't play great against America. But they still got away with it. That is the same in a golf tournament. You hang in there and play around par so you stay in the tournament. Then you wait for that amazing day that you need to win a tournament. They had it in the World Cup against Brazil, at the US Open I had two of them on the first two days."

Kaymer watched the final at his house in Hoylake at the weekend with Craig Connelly and revealed the Scot switched his allegiances for the evening.

"Craig was on our side," he said. "We were both very, very happy." The former world No.1 has, having also won the prestigious Players' Championship at Sawgrass in May, arguably been the form player on the planet this season. His track record in the Open, however, makes for far from impressive reading. His best finish in six appearances is a tie for seventh place at St Andrews in 2010. Kaymer has worked extensively on remoulding his swing since winning the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits that year in an attempt to produce an action that was more reliable under pressure.

It has clearly worked wonders. He will tee off with Jason Day and Zach Johnson, two other highly fancied competitors, tomorrow afternoon without any concerns or doubts about his ability to triumph. "I really enjoy playing links golf," he said. "You have to be creative. You have to play with the slopes, with the weather and with the wind. It is never just a putting competition in the Open.

"It is always a fight, a battle. At one stage you will hit bad weather and you have to fight through it. I enjoy that challenge and think I am fairly good at it. I have only missed the cut once.

"The values that I learned in my country definitely help me on the golf course. When you tell a German to do something we get it done and we get it done on time. You can rely on us. We deliver."

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