Kaymer a more 'complete player now'
There might be no better news for Europe's Ryder Cup team this week than Martin Kaymer saying he has "woken up again".
Just a month ago former world number one Kaymer was the biggest worry for captain Jose Maria Olazabal, having not had a top-10 finish since April and clinging onto the last automatic spot on the side. Kaymer tried to add a hook to his game after missing the halfway cut in his first three US Masters, but ended up losing his natural left-to-right fade.
However, after Tuesday's opening practice session, he said: "It took me the last six months to get back to my fade - the feel was just somewhere sleeping in me and I just needed to wake it up again. I think now it's awake and the draw is added to my repertoire, so I'm a more complete player now."
He added: "It's still a little shaky, but it just has to come together and I'm ready to go."
Although the 27-year-old German, playing with debutant Nicolas Colsaerts, lost to Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari, he said: "All of a sudden on the Friday of Holland (three weeks ago) I made a little click in my swing again. I'm very, very happy that it came along just in time for the Ryder Cup - it was a big relief."
Even though he was a rookie two years ago Kaymer, fresh off his first major victory and another win in Holland, was sent out first with Lee Westwood. They beat Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson and then halved with Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler, while in the third session he had Ian Poulter as his partner and they defeated Mickelson and Fowler.
Johnson gained some revenge in the singles, but Kaymer had certainly done his bit in Europe's nail-biting win and nobody would have guessed then that he would struggle to make this year's side.
But then came his problems with Augusta. "Every time I left I was very frustrated - not because I had just missed the cut, but the way I missed the cut," he said. "I had no idea how it feels to hit a draw.
"Obviously I know you have to hit it inside-outside with a shut clubface. I've read that many times, but I didn't know how it feels. I needed to learn. I thought I had a lot of years ahead of me and I don't want to live with that just hitting a fade my entire life."
As for Tuesday's practice result, Hanson was the star of their fourball with six birdies and an eagle, but Westwood and Luke Donald combined for a 13-under-par 59 better-ball score in thrashing Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. In the other group Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell beat Sergio Garcia and Paul Lawrie.