Cape Town – Major champions Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett are looking to continue their recent resurgence in form when they tee it up at this week’s European Masters.
Both players’ last wins on the European Tour came in one of golf’s big four, with Willett claiming the green jacket at the 2016 Masters and Kaymer winning the second of his Majors at the 2014 US Open.
They would both admit they have not been at their brilliant best since those victories, but after a good summer that has brought encouraging results in both Rolex Series events and Majors, the duo are excited to put their best foot forward at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
Kaymer has not played this event since he finished second in 2011 and while he too is delighted to be back in the mountains, he believes the altitude could prove one of the biggest challenges this week.
“I really enjoy playing golf and I think I’m fairly close to playing well but it’s always that five, six, seven per cent that can make a huge difference, especially in our sport,” said Kaymer.
“You just have to look around at how beautiful the place is. Once you’re here it’s a place that you don’t want to leave. I look forward to the week, I didn’t remember the golf course being in such good shape, I think the greens are very good so I look forward to playing.”
Willett has an excellent record at this event, with three top fives in the last six seasons including a victory in 2015. The stunning mountain backdrop is a big favourite with the players every year and the Englishman is delighted to be back in the Swiss Alps.
It is just over 12 months since Willett started working with coach Sean Foley and he feels his game is getting back to where he wants it to be.
“We’re working pretty well and the game feels in a reasonably nice position and we’re just going to try and treat each week as it is, keep doing what we’re trying to, tick off the boxes each day and hope that we shoot some good scores,” said Willett.
“It’s a special place. I think ever since I came here for the first time it’s a place where a lot of the guys come and play. The golf course lends itself to quite a lot of birdies, it makes it really exciting and it’s just a cool week.”
They are joined in the field by two-time Major champion John Daly, as the big-hitting American tees it up for the first time in his career at Crans-Montana, and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez, who shows little sign of slowing down after a string of top results.
Not content with winning the Senior Open at St. Andrews in July, the 54-year-old has played four times on the European Tour this season, finishing in the top 20 in each appearance.
Jiménez has an outstanding record at this event, having played in 28 editions, winning once in 2010 and recording ten other top tens.