Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship: Kaymer’s Course
15 - November 2011
The Falcon that stands imperiously over the Abu Dhabi Golf Club has overlooked several remarkable performance in the six events of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, but one could almost believe that this most stoic of witnesses must have shaken its head in disbelief at last year’s Martin Kaymer master class.
Kaymer set a record 24-under-par winning total, a record 8-shot winning margin and an overall display that left one of the best fields seen all season trailing in his dust a year ago.
“I don't think there was anyone in the world who could have topped him,” said Rory McIlroy, while his fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell declared “He seems to own this golf course” and Retief Goosen a distant 10 shots back in third begged for mercy: “He's killing us!” claimed the two-time Major champion.
“We said, in the first year of our partnership with ADTA, that we wanted to develop the event to one of the top 10 tournaments in the world. In 2011 I think we got one of the top five performances of the season anywhere in the world. After McIlroy at the US Open, you’d have to start considering Kaymer in Abu Dhabi in terms of both quality and dominance in victory,” says Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship.
Kaymer made sure he saw some of the sights and experiences that the emirate had to offer last year, where almost everything seems to have gone right for him in recent years. With three wins and a second place in the last four tournaments, the young German is a staggering 80 under par since missing the cut in 2007 in one of his first events after graduating from the Challenge Tour.
“He obviously loves this golf course. He's played some awesome golf around here in the last few years,” said Goosen.
“I know what it feels like when you're in such a zone, it's a great feeling.”
What’s amazing is that Kaymer has done it on a difficult course, one that Joost Luiten of the Netherlands says challenges each and every bit of equipment in the golfer’s tool box.
“You hit everything from a three iron to a wedge into the greens. You need to hit driver and three wood really well off the tee: every club in the bag... you need it! You need to be perfect and I think that’s what Kaymer did pretty well last year,” exclaims the 25-year-old Luiten.
“You really have to think about what you’re doing and you really have to make sure you hit the fairways. It doesn’t matter if you hit three wood or driver off the tee, but you need to hit the fairway. If you miss it you’re going to struggle to get to the green; it doesn’t matter on what hole. The par fives are long as well; they’re not easy birdies. So you really have to fight for the birdies out there. That makes it a really good golf course.”
Kaymer said that he putted even better than when he won his first Major at the 2010 PGA Championship and had played better than he had ever done in his career. He also revealed that it’s his planning as much as his play that is the secret to his stunning run.
“I think I have a very good strategy on the golf course. Even if I miss some shots, I always miss them at the right side of the fairway or the right side of the green, and I always have makeable up-and-downs or makeable birdie chances even sometimes. I just know really well how to play the golf course and the success has showed me that I play the golf course in the right way.”
Last year also proved the additional pulling power of the HSBC-ADTA partnership, with the tournament ranking, in terms of field strength among the top events anywhere in the world prior to the Masters Tournament. In fact it falls behind only the two WGC events and the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational globally during the first half of the season.
“For us, it was already one of the best tournaments that we have on The European Tour, just because of the whole setting here, the golf course, the hotel we stay in has all been great. But to have such a big partner the event like HSBC... They have a great event in China already –
It's a World Golf Championships event now – and to support this fantastic event here, it just makes it better,” Kaymer said in his victory speech.