Three-time champion Martin Kaymer is back with his trusted sidekick in Abu Dhabi. We spoke to the German on how he plans to turn things around

If you were going to have a small flutter on Martin Kaymer returning to form then Abu Dhabi would be the place to do it and this year there’s the added kicker that he’s back with Craig Connelly for a third time.

The two teamed up for both of Kaymer’s two majors, and the Players win, and after a second spell apart they were reunited again at the end of 2019.

And the very early signs are promising as Kaymer closed with a 65 for a share of eighth place.

This is Kaymer’s perfect playground. In 13 starts he’s recorded three wins – from 2008 onwards his form read W-T2-W-W – while he is equally remembered for his 3rd-place showing in 2015 when a 10-shot lead somehow disappeared over the final round.

The winner that year was France’s Gary Stal who was back playing on the Challenge Tour in 2018. Such is the game, it comes and it goes. Kaymer’s last win was his most impressive, when he won that US Open by eight shots in 2014, but he’s old enough, he’s just turned 35, and wise enough to know that things change.

“Look at Steven Brown who was preparing for Q School and then won in Portugal and it’s all fine. You don’t know what is around the corner, you just do the right things for you and ask yourself the right questions what do you need to do to get back where you think you belong,” explained Kaymer in a chat at the back end of last year.

“Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t but you will always learn and it might happen a month or two later when you don’t expect it. The skill is knowing what is the right thing to do at that moment and to then do it without too many compromises or distractions. Tiger knows exactly what he needs to do to be successful, that is a huge advantage to know what works, you then just need to put in the time and then you’re good.”

Kaymer will try and recapture his very best stuff by playing in the Middle East for the next few weeks before playing in a few in the States – the more the merrier – and then starting his European Tour season proper in April or May.

“You need to go with the modern way of playing golf, the TV rights in America means more money and points and, if there is more money, that means better players and higher world ranking points.”

Aside from the repeatable swing that appears the same to the one that won him two majors and play on four Ryder Cup teams, and three winning ones, it’s his self-awareness that will hopefully play a big part in his return to the big time.

“It gives you a lot of strength, calmness and peace to be aware of what you are doing. It is very important to understand why you are and you aren’t successful, people say you can learn more from your defeats but I think you can learn a lot from why you are being so good at something. The awareness only comes from that inner peace.

“I was listening to a podcast with LeBron James and he was such a calm person. A lot of successful athletes are very calm people and there must be a good reason for it.”