Two-time major winner Martin Kaymer will look to turn the loss of his full playing privileges on the PGA Tour to his advantage with his first victory on European soil for five years in the KLM Open.
Failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs meant Kaymer started just 13 events on the PGA Tour this season, two short of the minimum required for full membership.
The 30-year-old will be limited to 12 events on the US circuit next season and will not be eligible for the lucrative play-offs.
The former world No.1 admitted he had taken a “certain degree of risk” with his schedule, adding: “Unfortunately I have not been able to reach my goals on the PGA Tour for this season. I certainly accept and acknowledge the regulations of the PGA Tour.”
The good news for the European Tour is that the former US PGA and US Open champion heads a strong field at Kennemer Golf Club in Zandvoort as he looks to win the KLM Open for the second time, his previous win coming at Hilversum in 2010, a month before his last win in Europe in the Dunhill Links Championship.
“I’m incredibly relieved to come back to Europe after that long stretch in America fighting to make the FedEx Cup play-offs,” Kaymer said on Wednesday.
“At the time of course I wanted to make the play-offs, but now I’m happy that I can be back here. It’s natural that when you can play at home or near where you’re from, it’s always more comfortable, so I’m enjoying being here and I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s only two and a half hours from Dusseldorf.
“It’s always nice to be able to drive to a tournament and it does make a difference having your car with you. You’re able to move around and do different stuff like drive into the city in the evening and just get away from the golf course or hotel. I’ve been playing really well since the French Open, although I haven’t won. I’ve been close to the top 10 a few times. I was in Phoenix last week to practise for this week and the rest of the year.
“It all comes down to the putting and I spent a lot of time on the putting green. It’s something I’m hoping will pay off quickly, but I’ll need to be patient.” Five-time Open champion and 2014 US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson is also in the field in Zandvoort, the 66-year-old hoping to display his mastery of links courses on his debut in the event, which is one of only seven to have been played every season since the European Tour started in 1972.
“I’ve been asked to come and play for many, many years going back a long time, but for one reason or another I’ve never been able to, so I’m very glad to accept the invitation this year,” Watson said.
“The place is even better than I expected, and I’d heard a lot of good things about it. “
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