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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- If the balcony at the Augusta National clubhouse were higher than one story, Martin Kaymer might have jumped. Instead, the world's No. 1-ranked player is still with us, but probably not for long.
Kaymer talked about the 2011 Masters in the past tense Thursday. You would have done the same thing had you shot your green jacket chances in both sleeves during the opening round.
|In seven career rounds at the Masters, Martin Kaymer broke par just once, and it was a 71.|
The bad news is Kaymer posted a grotesque 6-over-par 78. And he did it on a day when Augusta National invited the field of 99 in for milk and peach cobbler. Gentle breezes. Not too warm. Perfect conditions for going red.
The good news is ... well, there is no good news. Once again, Kaymer laid a very large German egg. Only four other players shot worse scores. Sam Snead could have shot better -- and he's dead.
"I think that I don't really know how to play that golf course," Kaymer said. "I can think about it another hour, hour and a half or two hours. I just don't really find a solution."
Augusta National and Kaymer don't get along. If they were a couple, they'd be in marriage counseling. Or filing for divorce. Irreconcilable differences.
"There are some golf courses that suit your eye, and some, they just don't," he said.
This place doesn't fit Kaymer's right or left eye. It doesn't fit his natural swing, which leans toward a fade. It doesn't fit his reconfigured swing, which was supposed to incorporate a draw.
Kaymer loves the beauty of Augusta National. He gushed about it earlier in the week. He appreciates the tradition of the year's first major. He'd love to have his very own place in the second-floor Champions Locker Room, but it's not going to happen this year.
If you're keeping track, Kaymer is 0-for-3 in Masters cuts. He shot 76-72 in 2008 and was gone. Shot 71-76 in 2009 and was gone. Last year he opened with a spiffy 76, followed by a 73 and was gone.
Now this. Only Tom Watson (a 1,000-1 Vegas long shot), Tiger Woods' buddy Arjun Atwal, Craig Stadler and the sometimes bizarre Henrik Stenson trail Kaymer on the non-leaderboard. That's fine for those guys, but Kaymer is the top-ranked player on the planet.
It will take a very large golf miracle for Kaymer to survive the cut. He shot 38-40. He had six bogeys and one double. History doesn't suggest a scorecard U-turn Friday.
"I think that maybe I've got to sit down with Bernhard Langer later," Kaymer said of his countryman. "He's won here twice, and I think I can only get good advice from him."
Kaymer needs something good to come from these premises. If it comes from Langer ... the club pro ... a patron -- who cares, right?
The poor guy has tried everything to reverse the Masters curse. This year he took weeks off before the tournament, and chilled with family and friends. He worked on draw, because half the holes at Augusta National set up nicely for that ball flight.
"I was trying," said Kaymer, who unveiled his version of a draw Thursday. "It didn't really work out."
Not much of anything worked out for Kaymer. He had two birdies the whole day. There's no way around it -- he pretty much stunk it up.
Maybe Kaymer will get that cut-line miracle Friday. And maybe Y.E. Yang will develop a Texas accent. And Sergio Garcia won't blame somebody or something every time he hits a crummy shot.
Kaymer is a sweetheart. He doesn't make excuses. He doesn't whine. He's good at shrugging his shoulders.
"I don't know what I have to do here," he said. "Maybe one day it will work out."
For Kaymer and Augusta National, it looks like that day will have to wait until 2012.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at email@example.com. Hear Gene's podcasts and ESPN Radio appearances by clicking here. And don't forget to follow him on Twitter @GenoEspn.
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