GERMANY’S Martin Kaymer will be the centre of attention as the European Tour moves to his homeland for the BMW International Open this week.
Kaymer is in outstanding form, having won two of the sport’s most prestigious events in the past two months.
The 29-year-old won The Players Championship in May and then topped that by claiming his second major in emphatic style at the US Open at Pinehurst a fortnight ago.
Those successes have seen him shoot up the world rankings from the lowly 63rd spot he occupied in April to 11th and into a strong position for a European Ryder Cup place.
They should also ensure he attracts a good following at the Golf Club Gut Larchenhof in Cologne, a venue he grew up just 30 kilometres from.
“You tend to get great crowds in Germany, especially so this year with Martin having won the US Open, so it’s all set up to be a great week,” said fellow professional and 2012 German winner Danny Willett.
“I’m really looking forward to it for a number of reasons. I’m playing some really nice golf at the minute, I know the course very well and BMW always put on great tournaments.
“I’ve obviously got very fond memories of my win in Cologne two years ago.
“I played really well all week, especially in difficult conditions on the last day.
“I could have done without the stress of the play-off but, luckily, I eventually managed to get the job done on the fourth extra hole, so that was a relief.”
Yorkshireman Willett, 26, is again in good shape himself having finished in a tie for third at the Irish Open last weekend.
He hopes to maintain the momentum to enjoy another fruitful week at Germany’s only European Tour event, which now alternates between Cologne and Munich.
Kaymer, whose outing will be his first since the US Open, is also a former winner of the tournament, having triumphed in a play-off six years ago.
A further victory would lift him above Thomas Bjorn to the top of the Race to Dubai standings.
Henrik Stenson, tied fourth at Pinehurst, bids for his second German title. The Swedish world No 2 won in 2006 and has finished in the top ten in five of his last seven appearances at the event.
Spain’s world No 8 Sergio Garcia is also in the field while new Irish Open champion Mikko Ilonen will be bidding to win for a second successive week.
John Daly, Nick Dougherty, Niclas Fasth and David Horsey are also among the 12 past winners of the event to feature.