Kaymer hard at work to end barren spell
For the first time in months, Martin Kaymer found himself happy to be in the rough.
This was in his 85-year-old grandmother Inge's backyard, where he toiled contentedly for four hours on an afternoon this week weeding, trimming the hedges and mowing the lawn.
''Maybe you can call it therapy,'' Kaymer said.
Fifteen months ago, Kaymer was the world's top-ranked golfer and a good bet to become a serial winner at the majors after capturing his first at the U.S. PGA Championship in 2010. A slump in form has seen him drop to No. 14 and keen on ''getting completely away from golf'' ahead of a hectic next couple of months.
Kaymer shot rounds of 78 and 77 at the French Open last week to finish last of the 70 players who made the cut, with a total of 16 over. At the BMW International Open in his German homeland two weeks earlier, he failed to even make the weekend.
It has been eight months since he claimed a tournament victory, a fall from grace for a player who spent eight weeks as No. 1 during February-April 2011.
Maybe harking back to the days when he used to kick a ball around his family's backyard with his brother will do him good ahead of this week's Scottish Open, and with the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Anne's only a week away.
''It's how my family is, very down to earth, (a) worker family. And that's what I enjoy once in a while,'' Kaymer said.
''It's always good to go back to the old days when I was a kid ... just have a completely normal day where you just hang out with your family, talk about completely different stuff than birdies, world rankings and golf courses, how many bunkers are there, and all that stuff.''
Not that the 27-year-old Kaymer is worried about his current barren spell, which has seen him secure only three top-10 finishes in 12 European Tour events. That streak is even jeopardizing his spot in Europe's Ryder Cup team for September's match in Medinah, near Chicago.
''It will be nice to play in America, but I don't really think about it that much. I think other people think more about it than myself. And even the people, fans and the friends and media in Germany, I think they are more concerned about my golf than me,'' Kaymer said.
''I don't think it's that dramatic. It happens that you don't win for a few weeks or a few months. It does happen, but it doesn't mean that you've lost it or anything.''
A 15th-place finish at a testing U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco last month showed that a big win may just be around the corner for Kaymer.
He is playing the Scottish Open at the Castle Stuart course in Inverness to get some practise in links conditions before the British Open.
''It's fun and it's got feel and touch and imagination,'' Kaymer said of playing links. ''So that's why I choose to come here.
''I think I just entered two weeks ago because I changed my mind that I would like to play here the week before the Open. I heard it's good preparation.''
Kaymer won the Scottish Open by two strokes in 2009, when the event was staged on a parkland course at Loch Lomond.