World No. 1 Martin Kaymer admits now he blundered by trying to change his game for the Masters earlier this month.
Kaymer missed the halfway cut at Augusta National for the fourth time in four visits, but this was the first time he had worked during his build-up on trying to shape the ball to suit some of the holes.
Paired with Lee Westwood, the man he had taken the top spot off six weeks earlier, the 26-year-old German opened with a 6-over-par 78. He improved six shots on that in the second round, but still finished tied for 82nd in the 99-strong field.
"The first day I was trying to play the golf course in a perfect way. I think that was a big mistake," Kaymer said Wednesday at Wentworth, where next mnth he will try to add the European Tour's prestigious BMW PGA Championship title to the PGA Championship crown he won last August.
"Hit draws on certain holes, low shots, high shots, try to place the ball always on the right side of the hole. It was just not me -- it's not the way I play,” he said. "The second day I went out to just play my game. Play the way I want to play the golf course and not how the course wants to be played. So I did that and it was better.
"I need to play my game and it does not matter what course I play,” he explained. “Whether I play Augusta or Dusseldorf, it should never change my swing or my golf game or my strategy."
Ernie Els was among those who had expressed surprise the moment Kaymer revealed he was changing his game for the first major of the year -- one held on the same course every season.
Now the game's premier player will hope it is fifth time lucky when he returns next April.
At Wentworth on May 26-29, he will face golf's other three major champions in Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen.
"I have a few goals and one is definitely to win here,” Kaymer said. “When I played for the first time in 2007 it was a huge thing to me and I called my brother from the putting green and said 'do you know where I'm standing now?' It's the home of the European Tour and it would be fantastic to win."
Whether Kaymer is still No. 1 by then remains to be seen. He could even be down to N. 3 this Sunday. Luke Donald will go to the top if he captures the Heritage on the PGA Tour, and if he fails to do that Westwood can reclaim the position by taking the Indonesian Masters on the Asian Tour.
"It's important to be No. 1, but it's not the most important thing in my life,” said Kaymer. "One day it will change and I will be 2, 3, 5 -- hopefully it does not happen, but it's not something I am scared to lose and as long as I try 100 percent that's all I can do."