Kaymer to go head-to-head with Donald

 

Golf:Golf’s new world number one Martin Kaymer has paid tribute to the person who “made me the player I am today” —caddie Fanny Sunesson. Kaymer, who hopes to celebrate by beating Luke Donald in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson today, made certain of dethroning Lee Westwood with his semi-final victory over American Bubba Watson.

"Fanny and me, we know each other seven or eight years now,” said the 26-year-old German, the second-youngest holder of the top spot after Tiger Woods. “She was helping us out in the national team when I was an amateur. She was talking about course management and strategy and some experiences that she had with Nick Faldo and I found it very interesting.

“When I played the qualifying school, I could always call her and then we talked about a few suggestions for the golf course, how I felt about certain golf shots. Then, since 2008 when I won my first tournament, we were talking about why I won, why I screw up some tournaments, just to find solutions for things.

“In the end of the day I found the solutions by myself, but only through talking to her and the experiences she had and the right questions she asked me made me to the golf player I am today.”

Sunesson now works for fellow Swede Henrik Stenson and despite his first- round loss to Westwood last Wednesday she stayed around to watch Kaymer’s progress through the tournament.

The US PGA champion — he beat Watson in a play-off — becomes the second German holder of the top spot. Bernhard Langer was there for the first three weeks of the rankings in 1986.

Europe now has the leading three on the table for the first time since 1992, but the final at Dove Mountain was also to decide whether it was Donald or Graeme McDowell below Kaymer and Westwood.

Donald began the week down at ninth, but with Woods and Steve Stricker going out in the first round and then Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy the following day the chance was there to move to a career-high position.

And how well the 33-year-old took it. After a 5&4 quarter-final win over Ryan Moore he then thrashed Moore’s fellow American Matt Kuchar 6&5. But Donald has long been accused of not winning titles enough — one American writer even coined the term “Luke Donald Disease” to cover all British players - and ending a five-year barren spell in the States matters more to him today than his world ranking.

He had to play only 27 holes yesterday compared to Kaymer’s 36 — he was also taken the distance by Ryder Cup team-mate Miguel Angel Jimenez — but that should not matter too much with the final being cut this year from two rounds to one.

It was the second successive all-European final in the World Golf Championships event. A year ago Ian Poulter beat Casey. And only last November there was also a European one-two in the last of the WGC series, the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai. Francesco Molinari beat Westwood there.