Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Apr 03 2024
- 4 min
Cleeks Miami Walk

MIAMI - Cleeks GC has several factors in its favor heading into this week's LIV Golf Miami, including good momentum and a huge comfort factor on the hosting Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral.

The all-European combination arrives in Florida having contended strongly for team honors at the previous event, last month's LIV Golf Hong Kong, where they placed fifth after holding the lead for an extended time early in the final round.

Although the Cleeks have not yet tasted team victory in the LIV Golf League, captain Martin Kaymer likes their current trajectory.

"We have a really nice team spirit and we all get along really well," the German former world No. 1 said while preparing for Friday's opening round. "We play practice rounds together and we go for dinners together. We had our moments this season when we had chances to finish in the top three and sometimes even to win, so I think we have a good path ahead of us this year."

Asked what the Cleeks needed to do differently to secure team success, Kaymer replied: "We just need to pull all the way through. In Hong Kong, even three or four holes before we were finishing, we were still up there and then we made a couple of mistakes ... a couple of the guys made bogeys, I also made a bogey and that makes you drop so quickly.

"We need to go through and play until the very end. You need to stay aggressive until the 54th hole. You cannot back down, and that's what we have lacked a little bit ... just pushing through until the end."

Boosted by Kaymer's opening 6-under 64 in Hong Kong, the Cleeks celebrated their best team finish of the season after securing fifth spot on a rainy Sunday afternoon. They had previously finished eighth at LIV Golf Mayakoba, ninth at LIV Golf Las Vegas and then 11th at LIV Golf Jeddah.

They now turn their attention to the 7,701-yard Blue Monster layout which is showcasing its third LIV Golf event and its first in the regular season after hosting the Team Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Last year, the Cleeks finished seventh at Trump National Doral after pulling off a stunning 2-1 upset victory over the seventh-seeded Rippers in the opening match play quarterfinal round.

Kaymer believes that the challenging course, which features a series of strategically placed deep bunkers and deep Bermuda rough, sets up nicely for his four-man team.

"We have consistent ball-strikers, especially Adrian Meronk and Richard Bland, and that is key to this golf course," said Kaymer. "You need to hit a lot of fairways here and it's Bermuda grass in the rough so that is always tricky.

"But Kalle (Samooja) is playing good golf and I know the golf course really well ... we came here for the World Golf Championships event from 2011–2016. It's a golf course where you can shoot low but you need to hit the fairways, so I think it really suits my team."

Kaymer has high hopes for himself this week after tying for 21st place in Hong Kong, his best result in his last 17 LIV Golf starts. His 2023 campaign was negatively impacted by pre-season wrist surgery, but his health issues of the last few years are now largely behind him.

"I don't need to hold back any more in terms of practice and I don't need to worry about inflammation any more, so that is good," said Kaymer. "But the way back to good health has taken a little bit longer than I thought it would.

"Thankfully I'm now playing better golf, I'm playing a lot more consistently and consistency was a big problem last year. I had some decent rounds but then some bad rounds, and obviously that doesn't really help the team. My game is coming together quite nicely and I'm looking forward to putting all those positive vibes into play in the next few tournaments that I am playing."