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Kaymer is now in Florida looking to get back on track

His status is a former champion and the quality of his three wins is different from other players in his class – the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, the Players Championship and the US Open at No. 2 Pinehurst.

He also has nine European tour wins, spent two months at world No. 1 and landed the decisive putt for Europe in his historic return to the Ryder Cup in Medina.

Kaymer, whose last win was at Pinehurst in 2014, was tied for 48th in the Valspar Championship and considered that progress. It was only his second tenure since November.

“I played well. I put well. It just didn’t work out for me this week,” he said. “I’m still in the process and there are a lot of positives. But overall I’m happy with my trend.

He was heading to the Dominican Republic this week and will then try to play every tournament possible. His world ranking is at No. 151.

What makes it sure to find its way back is its location. Kaymer has decided to leave Germany for South Florida and he works at the Bear’s Club. It’s a much better situation than at home, where he feels his game has suffered.

“I didn’t train enough,” he said. “My strength is always hitting a lot of fairways. In Germany I had (bad) range balls and the range was too short. But I wanted to live in Germany. Slowly everything was fading and it took me a while to realize it. Now I think I know what I’m doing. There is plenty of game left. I just need to put it in the right place.

Off the course was a big life changer, as evidenced by the fact that he was spotted pushing a buggy on the Innisbrook field. He said he met Irene Scholz years ago and then saw her working with Peloton in South Africa. They met when she returned home to Germany.

Kaymer isn’t bothered by his low status, the product of not playing well consistently over the past few years. He seemed as optimistic as ever.

“I have to get back into the top 50,” Kaymer said. “But it’s not about stopping there.”

As for his schedule, Kaymer held out hope for an exemption – the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, the only team event on tour. He wants to ask Bernhard Langer to be his partner, if he can get a bye and if Langer can opt out of the PGA Tour champions that week.

The Valspar Championship, which returned from late April of last year to its March spot in the Florida swing, ended up putting Sam Burns in small business.

Burns won his first PGA Tour event last year in Innisbrook to secure a spot at the 2022 Masters. He then won in Mississippi, and he repeated at Valspar Championship. That’s three PGA Tour wins before making his Augusta National debut.

Only three other players can say that since the Masters reinstated its criteria for inviting most PGA Tour winners.

Jimmy Walker won in California in the fall of 2013, the Sony Open in January the following year, then Pebble Beach a month later. He played the Masters for the first time in 2014.

Patrick Reed won in North Carolina in August 2013, then won in the California desert in January, followed by a golf world championship in Doral in March. He also made his Masters debut in 2014.

Collin Morikawa won the Barracuda Championship in August 2019. He won the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village the following July and then the PGA Championship at Harding Park. The Masters was moved to November 2020 due to the pandemic.

ESPN Films has a “30 for 30” documentary about Greg Norman that was set to air on April 5, the Tuesday of Masters week. The network announced that “due to a scheduling change,” the documentary titled “Shark” will now air two weeks later on April 19.

ESPN also announced an update to its NBA schedule. The Chicago Bulls will host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7 p.m. CDT on April 5, then they will broadcast a game from the first round of the G League playoffs.

ESPN is televising Augusta National’s Par 3 tournament on Wednesday and the first two rounds of the Masters.

Kevin Kisner has made no secret that he plays for the money. It started when he turned pro, his dad gave him $16,000 to help him start the mini-rounds and he made enough putts along the way that he never had to ask for a another dollar.

He’s the guy who said last year that he was playing courses where he couldn’t win because 20th place paid pretty well.

So why has he never been interested in the seemingly endless supply of money that Saudi-funded groups are waving?

“It just wasn’t my business,” Kisner said. “I never even pursued or learned anything about it. It just never crossed my mind.

One reason is that Kisner spent three years on the PGA Tour’s board of directors as it navigated through the coronavirus pandemic.

“I see how hard our tour managers work to make our tour as successful as possible and to attract the best players in the world to play together more often,” he said.

Even so, it’s curious to see how it plays out now that Greg Norman has announced a series of eight tournaments offering purses of at least $20 million with small fields and no cutting.

“Any time people talk about that much money, it’s going to get attention,” Kisner said. “I think they can have a very successful tour. I’m just not sure players can play on both.

Mike Tirico will be leading some familiar voices at the Masters when he takes over as lead play-by-play voice for Sirius XM.

Tirico will be joined by analyst Steve Melnyk for the weekday rounds, and two-time US Open champion Curtis Strange will handle the weekend work.

Suzy Whaley, former president of the PGA of America, also joins the SiriusXM team at Augusta National. She also works at the master’s degree as a course reporter. Whaley will be the analyst for SiriusXM’s live coverage of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

The Lotte Championship is on its third run on Oahu. The only event on this year’s LPGA Tour in Hawaii will take place April 13-16 at the Ernie Els-designed Hoakalei Country Club at Ewa Beach. It was held in Kapolei last year and from 2012 to 2019 in Ko Olina. … The Walker Cup will move to even years from 2026. This will help it avoid being held in the same year as the World Amateur Team Championships, which moved to odd years when golf returned to the Games Olympics. The Walker Cup will be held at St. Andrews in 2023 and at Cypress Point in 2025. A venue for 2026 has not been announced. … The US Senior Women’s Open will be played in 2023 at the Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon. Tiger Woods and Juli Inkster won the USGA Amateur Championships at Waverley. The club joins Oakmont and Merion in hosting a USGA Championship each of the past eight decades.

None of Florida’s 54-hole swing leaders won.

“For some reason, Augusta is always on your mind.” —Justin Thomas.

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