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Golf | European Tour

Martin Kaymer © Gallo Images

Kaymer eager for US Tour challenge

Martin Kaymer is set to play fulltime on the USPGA Tour this year, saying he feels the time is now right for such a move away from his European base.

The 27-year-old German will forever be remembered for completing the "Miracle at Medinah" when he sunk a five-foot putt that clinched Europe's amazing comeback victory over the United States in Chicago in September.

He then went on to win the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa in December for his only tournament win in what had been a largely forgettable season up until Medinah.

Kaymer feels that swing changes he took on board after rising briefly to the world No 1 spot early in 2011 are finally paying dividends after much hard work on the range and that, added to his growing maturity, make it the right time to take on the US tour fulltime.

"It was the right time now," he said here Wednesday as he prepared to try and win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship for an unprecedented fourth time after 2008, 2010 and 2011.

"When I was 23, 24 it was maybe a little bit too early. Now I feel like I would try it out how it feels, knowing now what is going to happen in America.

"I've played there many times, majors, World Golf Championships. I've got to know the culture more, me living in Arizona, so I feel comfortable."

The swing changes he started working on when he became world No 1 were firstly aimed at introducing a comfortable draw into his game off the tee to compliment his natural fade shot.

In mind he had the upcoming Masters Tournament at Augusta National, a course where playing a draw off the tee can be a distinct advantage.

At first it failed miserably as Kaymer missed the cut and started to slide down the world rankings.

Was it all worthwhile? Kaymer is convinced it was.

"For me it was the right time," he said. "I didn't feel like the No 1 in the world. I was, but I didn't feel like it.

"I knew I couldn't play all the shots I wanted. And for me, if you are the best player in the world, you should be able to hit many, many different golf shots and I just couldn't.

"Just knowing that didn't make me feel like the No 1. If you don't feel like it, you will never stay No 1. So that's why I needed to change."

Kaymer will get a fiery season's baptism on Thursday when he sets off with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in the tournament's marquee grouping.


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