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Tuesday 14 August 2018

Harrington hails Kaymer's killer instinct

According to Padraig Harrington it is not only the world number two spot that Martin Kaymer has taken away from Tiger Woods -- he is also now the best finisher in the sport.

The Dubliner's disqualification from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last Friday led to him commentating rather than playing as Kaymer marched to a staggering eight-shot win yesterday.

"He's probably the most formidable player in the world when he is leading," said Harrington. "He seems to intimidate the rest of the field into believing that if he gets in front he is going to win."

The victory means Europe now has the two top-ranked players in the world in Lee Westwood and the 26-year-old US PGA champion. That has not happened since 1993 when Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer led the way. And it means Woods starts his season in California this week outside the top two for the first time since October 2004.

He was the one who used to be virtually guaranteed to go away from the field once he got his nose ahead.

But after taking a lead into the final day of a major 14 times and winning them all, Woods was overhauled by South Korean YE Yang at the 2009 US PGA Championship.

And last month, he was four clear after 54 holes of the Target World Challenge and lost in a play-off to Graeme McDowell, keeping him winless all season. Whether it is an aura he can regain remains to be seen. In two weeks' time he will be facing Kaymer and Westwood at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Ireland's Rory McIlroy will hope to be a factor there as well -- it was the scene of his only European Tour victory so far -- after finishing a distant runner-up this weekend.

The 21-year-old was delighted by his move from 12th to world number seven in his first outing of the year, but Kaymer was in a different league.

"Very impressive -- he was in total control of his ball," stated McIlroy.

It was Kaymer's third win in the event in four years -- he was second the other time -- and that prompted the organisers to give him the trophy to keep.

"I never expected my career to go this fast," he commented after finishing an astonishing 24 under par.

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