JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - No sooner does one golf season end than another one begins and for Martin Kaymer it will be just as important to have a bit of fun as it will be to compete at this week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.
The U.S. Open champion, feeling tired after a year of globetrotting, has not picked up his clubs since last month’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai brought the curtain down on the 2013-14 European Tour season.
Nine days later world number 13 Kaymer is the title favorite as the 2014-15 campaign gets underway with the $6.5 million tournament at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
“It has been a long year, probably the longest I’ve ever played,” said the 29-year-old German.
”There won’t be much practice this week as it’s just about conserving energy. I know the golf course well and I won here in 2012 so there are a lot of positive memories.
“It’s an important tournament and it would be nice to make a strong start to the 2015 campaign but it’s also the end of a long year and you want to enjoy it a little bit,” said Kaymer on the tour’s website (www.europeantour.com).
“You want to enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the country and maybe go on a game drive. My brother is here too and he’s never been to South Africa so maybe we’ll do something like that.”
Kaymer is joined at Sun City by triumphant Ryder Cup team mates Thomas Bjorn, the Dane who lifted the title 12 months ago, Jamie Donaldson, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, a vice-captain to Europe skipper Paul McGinley at Gleneagles in September, is also in the lineup.
Kaymer said he would be focusing 100 percent on his golf when the first round gets underway on Thursday.
”I‘m not going to be tired on the course,“ he added. ”Once the tournament starts there’s no problem with motivation, of course you want to play and you want to win.
“I’ve got one more tournament after this and then I’ll be heading home for a good break. It’s been years since I spent Christmas in Germany so I‘m really looking forward to it.”
Writing by Tony Jimenez, editing by Justin Palmer