Wednesday 22 November 2017

Kaymer 'inspired' by McIlroy magic

Bernie McGuire

Instead of wanting to play like Tiger Woods, everybody now wants to play like Rory McIlroy -- and that includes world No 3 Martin Kaymer, on home turf this week.

Whereas McIlroy broke 70 in every round in winning the US Open by eight strokes with a record score on Sunday, Kaymer failed to break 70 in any round and came 39th -- 19 strokes behind the Northern Irishman.

McIlroy is on a three-week break before the British Open at Sandwich, but Kaymer has gone straight from Washington to Munich for the BMW International Open, which starts today.

The 26-year-old, who in 2008 became the first German to win the event in its 22-year history, is part of an all-European world top four -- along with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and McIlroy.

That has not happened for almost 20 years and Kaymer said: "It's something to do with the Europeans playing worldwide and becoming more complete players.

"Watching Rory made me want to practise more -- it's inspirational. If you see somebody playing as well as Rory, you want to go out and become a better player. Rory was impressive. I didn't see 16-under being the winning score. He was on autopilot."

Back in February 1992, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer made up an all-European world top five.

Former Ryder Cup captain Langer, who has taken time out from the American seniors circuit to make his 450th European Tour appearance, is delighted with the healthy state of European golf.

The 53-year-old said: "We should savour this. It doesn't come around too often. There was a unique crop of players in the 80s who came along and won Majors. This is another generation and I think they benefit from playing each other and beating each other regularly.

"For years, there was a drought -- now it's the opposite. I was more than impressed watching Rory. It's not often you see a player shoot these kind of scores in a Major. Rory is a phenomenal talent and has one of the best swings."

It was awkward asking Dustin Johnson what he thought of McIlroy's Congressional command performance, when a year earlier the American blew a golden chance to win the US Open at Pebble Beach.

Johnson is competing in Germany for the first time and hinted that he is considering taking out European Tour membership. He played the opening two rounds of the US Open in the company of McIlroy before ending in a share of 23rd place, 17 strokes adrift of the Holywood star.

The pair first met in competition at 2007 Walker Cup at Royal Co Down, where McIlroy's GB & Ireland side went down to a USA team also boasting Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.


"I've played a bunch of golf with Rory, ever since that '07 Walker Cup, so I've always known he's good," said Johnson.

"It was just good to see him continue his brilliant play through to the weekend, and apart from the double-bogey on Friday at 18, he didn't put a foot wrong all week. When you play four rounds like Rory did, especially at a US Open, you're going to win."

Just four Irish will take their place in the €2m event, headed by Shane Lowry, who missed the cut in the US Open.

Also in the field is the newly married Gareth Maybin, along with Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane.

McGrane will be hoping that Graeme McDowell's and McIlroy's US Open successes can inspire the Irish rank and file like himself and Lawrie.

"With Padraig (Harrington), Graeme and Rory winning Majors, it makes us focus harder on our games because there is so much positivity in the air," said McGrane.

"The positivity surrounds all the Irish guys on the Tour. Imagine if all the Irish guys were out here and nobody was winning anything, and we'd all be looking to break the duck.

"So as far as the Irish camp goes, nobody needs to break their duck because we've got guys like Padraig and Graeme and now young Rory as standard bearers.

"It's incredible stuff and it's just amazing he should win in the very next Major after Augusta. Augusta is dead and buried. It's ancient history now."

BMW International Open,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 10.30

Irish Independent

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