Martin Kaymer arrives at this week’s Austrian Golf Open confident of clinching a result which can kick-start his 2021 campaign and help him back on the path to Ryder Cup and Major glory.
The two-time Major winner drove from his home in Germany to Diamond Country Club, in Atzenbrugg near Vienna, with his eyes on the prize as he targets a route back to the kind of form which made him a World Number One and 11-time European Tour winner.
Kaymer’s form has improved event-by-event this year and he enters this week following a top 20 finish in his last European Tour appearance at the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investments Advisors.
Home hope Matthias Schwab is regarded as one of the favourites this week, especially after a strong weekend in his most recent appearance at the Kenya Savannah Classic supported by Absa, where he carded 66-65 in the final two days to finish in a share of seventh place.
Another player who finished in a share of seventh position in the most recent event in Kenya is Joost Luiten, a man who has enjoyed an enviable record in this event – in his seven appearances he has recorded one win, two top threes, two further top tens and two further top 20s.
Martin Kaymer: “I like to come to Austria. It’s a nice country with good food, good golf courses. This week it’s a great golf course, it’s just the weather; nobody can influence it. It’ll be a good week and there will still be one winner on Sunday.
“I played 18 holes yesterday, which was an interesting one because it was almost snowing. It was very difficult to see how the golf course will play once the first day comes. Maybe the weather will improve a little bit, but I think it will be a battle.
“It’s difficult to see the ball flying with the cold. But it’s a week that I always prefer, it’s a country I like to come to, it’s close to my home country – I could drive here this week. There’s a lot of comfort for me.
“The top 50 in the world is huge, you can get into all of the Majors and the WGC events and once you can do that you can play yourself into events that I haven’t played in a couple of years, and I still haven’t given up on The Ryder Cup.
“The Ryder Cup is huge and it was a real pain not to be part of the team in France. I know I’m quite far away right now but I feel like I’m doing a lot of things right at the moment to have a good summer.
“If I could get a couple of big results, that would make a big difference for me. Knowing that I’m very close – or I feel like I’m close – but you still need the results. No one cares how you feel, as long as you don’t put the right results on the scorecard and that’s something I’m longing for.”
Matthias Schwab: “It’s always nice to have a home Open. I’ve played here quite a lot of times so I almost feel like I’m at home, although I live three hours from here. I think the first time was 11 years ago as an amateur and I’ve come back five, six, seven times, I’m not sure.
“I know the course, I know the people that work here, I know the head of the club and they’re all very friendly and I’d say they’re all fans of me, so I like to come back here and I hope to have a good week.
“The home support is obviously not that big this year with no spectators but the local knowledge I think is nice to have, it is a bonus. Looking back, say in Kenya, I didn’t really know the course and I’m still quite new to the Tour, I consider myself quite new so a lot of time I go to places for the first time and I have to learn the course, the layout, the strategy and all that stuff, but here I don’t have to do that anymore.
“I’ve played the course enough times and I know the changes from the last year or two, I’d say. I feel good about the course; I know where to go and where not to go. Obviously it will play a little bit different in the conditions we face this year, but I think it’s definitely a bonus week.”
Joost Luiten: “I’m feeling good, the game is good. I had two weeks off, I’ve been practicing at home. I’m feeling ready to go this week. I’m using the practice days to get used to the conditions, it’s a bit nippy today!
“For some reason I like this course, it just suits my eye. You’ve got to hit the ball well, you’ve got to hit the greens so if I can play my game I know I can play well on this golf course and I know I can win on this golf course.
“It always helps when you’ve won in the past, you always go to that venue with a little bit more confidence and hopefully I can bring out on to the golf course this week.
“My game is always about consistency, hitting fairways and hitting greens and if I can putt well then I should be up there on Sunday which happened a couple of times. I couldn’t finish it last year but I think I’m very consistent with the ball-striking and if that’s there every week you’re never going to be far off scorewise.”