February 22 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer didn't win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship last year but he came away with a pretty nice consolation prize.
Kaymer, who was on the losing end of a 3-and-2 decision to Luke Donald in the finals, still managed to ascend to No. 1 in the world thanks to the strong run through the elite field of 64. The 27-year-old German held the spot for eight weeks -- five more than his countryman Bernhard Langer had done.
Turns out, though, that lofty position was something of a double-edged sword. While Kaymer still managed to post seven more top-10s, including a win at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, last year he admits his focus sometimes waned and the swing adjustments he made are still kicking in.
"I still think I play good golf," Kaymer said. "But overall, I understand the last year has been a little different for myself. I obviously was No. 1 in the world. It was not only a big thing for me but Germany as well and German golf. So a lot has happened and my focus has gotten a little bit away from golf, but then in the middle of the season I could focus back on golf.
"I was changing a few things. … I feel very good about my game. It is just a matter of time that it will happen that I have a good long time of good tournaments. I'm not too concerned. I still play good golf and I know I need to be on my top form in order to win.
“You need to keep working and improving. That is what at the moment I enjoy the most. I have a lot of things that I can work on and I see I can benefit from it. It will become better and better every month."
Kaymer, who has been called in some quarters "The Germanator," is now ranked No. 4 in the world and top-seeded in the Ben Hogan bracket. He plays Australia's Greg Chalmers in the first round at 1:25 p.m. ET.
Kaymer knows Chalmers is left-handed and a good putter but "that's pretty much it," the German said. Chalmer's two wins in a three-week stretch Down Under weren't lost on Kaymer, either.
"Geoff Ogilvy and me were at dinner yesterday," Kaymer said. "I asked him if he knows him. He said yeah, he is very good in short game, so you should be careful, never give up on anything, or think, okay, that's my hole, Which you should not do in match play anyways, especially with him. That's what I heard.
"At the end of the day, if I shoot one stroke better than him, I will be fine. I'm not Googling him or trying to look up things."