x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Kaymer blooming by the Loch

On a day of rising standards and temperatures, a few faces of yesteryear fell below the watermark at Loch Lomond yesterday.

Loch lomond // On a day of rising standards and temperatures, a few faces of yesteryear fell below the watermark at Loch Lomond yesterday. This made for some savoury shenanigans in the second round of a suddenly blooming Scottish Open. Attempting to ring-fence a notable golfer to discuss the happenings of a day that felt almost sultry by local standards can be as difficult as playing out of one of these imposing bunkers with a putter.

If you are not quick, the moment has gone. It seemed like Sir Nick Faldo and the debatable John Daly, plodding around here in trousers that looked like somebody had mixed paint with them, had not moved as fast since their major times of the 1990s. Both limped out of the tournament after 36-hole two-over par totals of 144. These old rascals will be at Turnberry next week as former British Open champions, but the pair, and certainly Daly's trousers, probably represent a bygone era.

Men like the German Martin Kaymer are well equipped to embrace its future. Kaymer won his first European Tour tournament at the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2008. He almost defended the title after Paul Casey held him off by one stroke in January. In between times, he has suffered some wretched personal moments. Kaymer's mother died and, as his fellow German Bernhard Langer alluded to at the British Seniors Open a year ago, that probably buried his pursuit of Ryder Cup qualification. It did not stop Kaymer from finishing the season eighth in the Order of Merit a season after he was rookie of the year.

Last week he downed Lee Westwood in a play-off to win the French Open, his third tour title after Abu Dhabi and the BMW International in Germany. "Last week, this week and next week are really big tournaments," he said. "I want to take what I experienced last week into this week and next." Kaymer, 24, cuts a figure of good manners. He had every right to be content after a second-round 65 left him on eight under, only three adrift of the leader Retief Goosen.

His year is revolving around his return to the Emirates. "The Dubai World Championship is the biggest tournament we're going to play this year. This is a special time, because it is the first time we have played there, and I intend to play well there," he said. "I will be in the US in Arizona, probably the week before Dubai so I can prepare properly. Arizona is very similar to Dubai. I think that will give me the best chance of doing well.

"I feel that I can do well. I feel very comfortable there. It suits me. "I'm relishing the Open. I've never been to Turnberry so I don't know what the course is like, but I think the key in majors is patience." Langer, that most patient of German golfers, won two US Masters, but never the British Open. Kaymer is hardly living in fear of the Langer legacy. dkane@thenational.ae