Martin Kaymer has returned home to the BMW International Open, with the aim of adding a second tile at the scene of his emotional victory in 2008.
The two-time Major winner – and new European Ryder Cup Vice Captain – became the first German to win this title 13 years ago, triumphing in a play-off to seal the second of his 11 European Tour titles.
While Kaymer now has the added responsibility of joining Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson and Graeme McDowell as one of European Ryder Cup Captain Pádraig Harrington’s Vice Captains, he is clear that his main focus this week is winning the BMW International Open title for a second time at Golfclub München Eichenried.
He is joined in the field by young Norwegian star Viktor Hovland, who is aiming to make his debut in the biennial contest at Whistling Straits in September. The two-time PGA TOUR winner and former World Amateur Number One is making his debut in the BMW International Open and is aiming for a positive week after withdrawing from the U.S. Open last week with an eye injury.
The field in Munich also includes three-time Major winner Harrington, another fellow Major winner and Ryder Cup stalwart Sergio Garcia, and Germany’s Stephan Jaeger, with the current Korn Ferry Points List leader returning to his homeland for the first time in almost two years.
Martin Kaymer: “I’ve had great success at this event over the last few years, I’ve had a couple of top ten finishes. It’s a golf course I enjoy. My win in 2008 was a very emotional win, winning in your own country. I played with Bernhard Langer the first two rounds, they were some of the first rounds I’ve played with him. He has been role model for German golfers and for myself for many years. To play well that week, during this two rounds playing with him was super cool. I was only 23 years old and got really excited playing with him. The emotions and feelings I have coming back are very positive.
“The golf course has changed a lot since I won here. They have lengthened a lot of holes, the surfaces of the greens were changed four or five years ago. So they are really, really good.
“My main goal is, I don’t know if it’s Pádraig’s goal for me, but it’s my goal to win the golf tournament. He’s obviously trying the same thing this week, but if I can beat the captain on Sunday afternoon, it would be my pleasure.”
Viktor Hovland: “The course is generally pretty straightforward, but it offers some things to think about – trees overhanging fairways and trees in the middle of fairways. You have to place yourself accordingly, you can’t just pick a driver and hit it everywhere because you’ll get in trouble.
“I like that you have to think a little bit. In some parts the greens are pretty small, so you’ll have to hit good iron shots to get a good look at birdies. The greens are great, so when you do hit greens you can make some putts.
“(My eye) healed up pretty quickly. Was unfortunate that it happened last week. I’m all good now and ready to play some golf.”
Sergio Garcia: “It’s nice to be back. I love playing in Munich and the BMW International Open. I’m excited to have another good week and build up ahead of The Open.
“Both times on this course I’ve been runner-up. I do like it. It’s a course I seem to do well on. Hopefully I can go one better this year, if not this year then hopefully the near future. The course looks great, the new greens are unbelievable. Hopefully we’ll have another great week here.
“You have to drive the ball well, but it’s not super tight. Even from the rough you can still play to a lot of the greens. Your iron play is important and around the greens, chipping and putting.”
Stephan Jaeger: “It’s been a while, I haven’t been back here since probably Christmas of 2019, and I haven’t played the course in the summer since 2014 or 15. It’s been six or seven years since I’ve played out here and it’s changed a lot since I was growing up. It’s a lot longer, a lot harder, it’s great, it’s in good shape. The greens are brand new, they are in great shape. I’m excited to be home.
“Any Tour you play on – European Tour, PGA TOUR or Korn Ferry Tour – you’ve got to prepare right, you can’t just show up here and expect to be on top of the leaderboard. I did some good work this week and put in a lot of time and effort. It’s a different feeling being home and your expectations are always high. You always want to do well and win tournaments, and that’s what I’m here to do. Hopefully I’ll get as close as possible on the weekend.”