By Tony Jimenez
DUBAI (Reuters) - Despite experiencing his first barren year on the European Tour since 2007, Martin Kaymer and his manager Johan Elliot are certain a tournament victory is imminent for the former world number one.
As the European Ryder Cup hero practiced his chipping on a hot, sultry day in Dubai, Elliot said he was convinced the German would either win this week's DP World Tour Championship or next week's Sun City Challenge in South Africa.
"I've been patient for a long time now and I think Johan's right," Kaymer told Reuters in an interview. "I'm playing very well and I'm getting closer and closer.
"Without putting too much pressure on myself, I have a very good chance of winning this week or next. The way I play golf it shouldn't take too much longer."
Kaymer has won at least twice in each of the last four seasons but this year was a struggle until a rush of confidence in the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in Illinois at the end of September.
The 27-year-old jumped up and down in wild celebration after his six-foot putt on the final green of his singles match against Steve Stricker ensured the European team retained the trophy.
"I think just before the Ryder Cup a few things started to change for me," Kaymer explained. "I was playing some really nice golf but things weren't happening for me and I wasn't getting the right results.
"What happened at the Ryder Cup was huge for me and then for two weeks in China I played really well but couldn't get the scores I wanted," he added referring to a tie for 11th at the BMW Masters and a ninth-place finish at the WGC-Champions Tournament.
"Last week was also quite nice at the South African Open. I played good golf to finish tied for third but I also know I could have done better."
World number 30 Kaymer, who was top of the rankings for an eight-week spell last year, said it was a failure to take advantage of the long holes that had cost him a win in recent weeks.
"My short game is not quite sharp enough," he added. "My long game is very good and my putting is good - it's just I'm not really using the par-fives.
"I'm not making a lot of birdies on those holes because my pitching isn't very good - that's why I need to spend a lot of time practicing around the greens.
"I am playing exactly the same way I played two or three years ago. There is no difference, it's just that my short game has to get a little bit sharper."
Whatever the 2010 U.S. PGA champion achieves in the future, he knows he will find it difficult to replicate the special sensation he experienced at the Ryder Cup.
"To make something that big happen for yourself, your country and your continent is a huge achievement," said Kaymer. "If you know you can make those things happen, those important shots, those important putts - it doesn't get any bigger.
"There is no goal in my life where there will be more pressure or more excitement than at Medinah where I had that little six-footer for the Ryder Cup."
Kaymer, who has 10 European Tour victories to his credit, said he was grateful for the opportunity to put his name in the record books as the man who ensured his team retained the Ryder Cup.
"The key was that I really focused on the simple things," he added. "It was an uphill, inside-right of the cup putt and if you break it down to the simplest task - it's the easiest putt you can have.
"But obviously under those circumstances it was not that easy - it was all about the excitement of making it happen. It was a huge gift for me really, having the possibility to win the Ryder Cup."
(Editing by John Mehaffey)