Martin Kaymer's US Open start as easy as 1, 2, 3

MARTIN Kaymer has promised to look at "the bigger picture" after his intriguing US Open draw.

The world No 3 will partner Englishmen Luke Donald and Lee Westwood in the first two rounds at Congressional, with the trio comprising the top three in the rankings as well as the last three holders of the No 1 spot.

Factor in the presence of Donald's brother and former caddie Chris on the German's bag for the first time and the stage is set for fireworks. But Kaymer said: "I think there's a bigger picture for sure. At the end of the day you're still thinking about the tournaments, it's not about the world rankings. And with Chris Donald, I don't know how he is as a caddie. I know that he's a very nice guy, a great personality. We get along very well. We will try out a few weeks and then see how it goes.

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"His experience that he has from his brother, he caddied for him for seven years and a year for Paul Casey, so that shouldn't be a problem. But obviously this is our first week, so it would be a little bit difficult to get used to each other straight away. We will spend a lot of time together talking, about distances, about how I approach a golf course, a little more aggressive or defensive. He just has to know me."

Kaymer won last year's US PGA, making him one of ten different winners in as many majors.

And while he acknowledged the impact of Tiger Woods' struggles for form and fitness since his well-documented personal problems, he said: "It's exciting, isn't it?

"It's nice to have different champions. It's interesting for golf and the world.

"It's nice that KJ Choi won (the Players' Championship] recently. It's great for Asia, as well. The world rankings are changing every week, every month something else is going on. So I find it very exciting.

"Obviously Tiger hasn't been up to his best form the last two years. I played with him at TPC, only for nine holes. You could see the spectators get less on the back nine when he left. It's always nice to have him at tournaments, it brings in a little bit more attention. Hopefully he gets well soon and we can play against him.

"But I think for us Europeans obviously it's fantastic, it's very exciting to see us up there."

On his own chances this week, he added: "I have to start okay. If I have an okay start to put myself in an okay position for the weekend then I'm just looking for that great round on Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes that great round is not even necessary, just playing solid and avoiding double bogeys, triple bogeys, stupid mistakes.

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"I really enjoy that, to play difficult golf courses, where you can't force anything. It's not a putting competition. It's mentally very tough."

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, meanwhile, has been grouped with Jason Dufner - who finished fifth at last year's US PGA - and Seung Yul Noh, who topped the 2010 Asian Tour money list. The trio will be among the later starters from the tenth tee. Martin Laird has exactly the same 1.13pm (local time) tee-off as Gallacher, starting on the first. His playing partners are American Mark Wilson, whose biggest career win was at the 2007 Honda Classic, and Swedish Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson.

PGA Tour veteran Fred Funk could certainly be forgiven for being misty-eyed, at the very least, when he tees off in Thursday's opening round, alongside Michael Campbell and amateur David Chung. The 54-year-old American - eight times a winner on the PGA Tour - graduated from the nearby University of Maryland in 1980, and has played Congressional for most of his life. He was so overcome by emotion that he broke down in tears when he qualified for this week's championship seven days ago. "It meant a lot to me because this is my hometown and Congressional is a very special spot," said Funk yesterday. "The first question I get (after the 6 June qualifier] is what does this mean to you, and I broke down. I think it was a combination of things - how I've been playing the last few months and then making it here, in my hometown. It's pretty neat."