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Kaymer hopes to improve dismal Masters record

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Martin Kaymer’s record at the Masters is not what you’d expect from a man of his talents. When he’s on top of his game, he’s difficult to beat. Last year’s victories at The Players Championship and U.S. Open prove that.

But somehow in seven Masters starts Kaymer’s best finish is a tie for 31st place, and that came last year. He missed the cut in each of the first four times he played here from 2008-11.

Kaymer’s Masters stock is so low that his odds of winning are listed at 80-1, behind Brooks Koepka (66-1), who is playing his first Masters and had a dislocated rib just two weeks ago.

Never fear, though, the 30-year-old German believes he knows a cure.

“I wasn’t really able to play the golf course the way it was supposed to be played,” Kaymer said Monday at Augusta National. “Then I adjusted a few things, and then the last two years … I was playing it really well, but I struggled a little on the greens.

“If I can put those things together – the putting from the first three or four years and the playing from the last couple years, I’ll be OK.”

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Kaymer played 18 holes at Augusta National on Sunday, then another 18 on Monday with fellow German Bernhard Langer. On the par-5 13th hole Kaymer was discussing various strategies with the two-time Masters champion and gained a new appreciation for Augusta National when Langer told him that none of his strategies on the hole were proper.

“Things like this just gave me a completely different option,” Kaymer said.

Strategy is one of the many keys to playing well around these hallowed grounds, but ultimately the winner will have to make key putts, especially those 8- 10-footers to save par.

“The great tournaments that I had in the past, it always came down to putting,” Kaymer said. “I spend a lot of time with the short game, a lot of time on the putting green the last few weeks.

“I was trying to peak for this week. I was trying everything to prepare myself as good as positive. I can’t tell you if all the work will pay off this week. I would love to. If not, it will be another week.”