QUIET MARTIN KAYMER IS THE THIRD MAN in the marquee grouping that features Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, both flashing their Nike threads and sticks in their season opener at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
"It's always nice to play with them," Kaymer said in his media conference. He gets along with both players. He knows they'll attract large galleries. No, it won't bother him. He's been there before.
The soft-spoken Kaymer is the odd man out, in a sense, just as anyone would be alongside the two mega stars. And yet Kaymer, also the man who clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe at Medinah last September, is arguably as solid a pick this week as McIlroy or Woods.
You never should count out someone who has won a tournament three times in the last five years. Kaymer hoisted the trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2011. He was the runner-up in 2009. Last year he missed the cut, though.
LISTEN TO MARTIN KAYMER AT ABU DHABI
"I'm coming here to a golf course that I really like and have been successful on; that I never really have to play against my feel, which is very rare on golf courses where you go and you can really feel very comfortable."
Beware of the third man.