INVERNESS, Scotland – Sounds like it’s too early for Martin Kaymer to be considering another profession, but landscape gardener seems the obvious choice for when the German puts his sticks away for good.
He seems to be getting more fun out of pottering around the garden these days than he does on the manicured fairways of world golf.
Kaymer is in Scotland for the 2.5 million euro Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in Inverness, but he sounds as if he’d rather be back in Germany working in his grandmother’s garden. That was his warm-up for the Scottish Open.
Kaymer shot rounds of 78 and 77 in the last 36 holes of the Alstom French Open, finished early, well down the field and headed home looking for solace.
He found it in grandmother Inge’s backyard in Dusseldorf.
“When I came here, I felt very relaxed, very refreshed,” Kaymer said. “Monday was a relaxed day at my grandma’s house. We did a little bit in the backyard.”
A little bit? Kaymer spent four hours weeding and trimming hedges – not what you might expect professional golfers to do in their downtime.
“I think maybe you can call it therapy, to get completely away from golf, think about something else, just do normal work. That’s what I enjoy once in a while.
“It’s always nice to go back to the old days, when I was a kid,” Kaymer said, “and just have a completely normal day where you just hang out with your family, talk completely different stuff than birdies, world rankings, golf courses, how many bunkers there are and stuff like that.”
Maybe Kaymer prefers talking about gardening right now because talking about golf – his golf – is just depressing.
The German seemed to be the guy most likely to go on and win more major victories after he won the 2010 PGA Championship. He won 10 European titles from 2008 to 2011. He became World No. 1. Golf was his oyster. Not now. Not in 2012.
He seems to have gone backward.
Kaymer is now 14th in the world. That wouldn’t normally sound like time to hit the panic button, but Kaymer seems miles away from the player he was during that four-year stretch beginning in 2008.
Kaymer’s best finish this season is seventh, in the Maybank Malaysian Open. He has two other tops 10s: ninth-place finishes in the WGC–Accenture Match Play Championship and Commercialbank Qatar Masters.
He placed 15th in the U.S. Open, but followed that up by missing the cut in BMW International Open in his homeland, and then his early exit from the French.
He’s not worried, even if others are.
“It happens that you don’t win for a few weeks or months,” he said. “It does happen, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve lost it or anything. I’m not that concerned.”
Kaymer entered the Scottish Open only two weeks ago, when he realized he was short of preparation for next week’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Kaymer made his Ryder Cup debut two years when he played on the winning team at Celtic Manor. He is fifth on the European points table, thanks to victory in the WGC–HSBC Championship late last year. However, if he continues in his present form, there’s a chance he won’t make Jose Maria Olazabal’s team that travels to Chicago.
“I hope I make the Ryder Cup, but I don’t think about it too much. I think other people think about it more than myself.”
Kaymer is sticking to the adage of concentrating week-to-week in the hope the Ryder Cup takes care of itself.
“The main goal is just to play good tournaments, put myself in contention. I want to enjoy the golf tournaments that are coming up because the next four tournaments I play in the next five weeks are very important.”
He needs to play well in them, or grandmother Inge might find herself with grandson Martin lending another helping hand in her garden in late September.