Martin Kaymer enjoys his return to the golf course on which he claimed his first major title in 2010
Much of the talk is about Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson in the build up to the 2015 USPGA Championship, and while Martin Kaymer is not a golfer who seeks media attention, it frustrates him that the 2010 USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits is remembered by some as much for Johnson’s famous grounded club than it is for Kaymer’s triumph.
Kaymer won the first of his two major titles in the 2010 USPGA Championship, and the course on which a golfer wins his first major title remains eternally sacred in his mind.
“It’s very, very difficult to put into words where you won your first major, said Kaymer yesterday. “If you’re a major winner it’s very difficult to describe that feeling because it doesn’t really do it justice.
“Craig [Connelly] – my caddie – and I came here before the U.S. Open and played a few rounds, and it brought back very good memories. Coming back here this week you can feel the same when you were playing the last two or three holes, remembering all the shots that you hit five years ago.”
Rounds of 72-68-67 over the first three rounds in 2010 placed Kaymer four shots off Nick Watney’s third-round lead, before seven players held at least a share of the final-round lead. Kaymer shot 70 in the final round to join Bubba Watson on a clubhouse lead of 11-under-par, before Johnson grounded his club in a bunker on the last to suffer a two-shot penalty that dropped him out of the play-off. Kaymer then edged past Watson by a shot after three extra holes, to become the first German major winner since Bernhard Langer in 1993.
“I need to say it’s a little sad that every time we talk about that PGA Championship it’s like Dustin threw it away,” says Kaymer, 31, who went on to win the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. “Of course, the penalty stroke was very unlucky, but he also missed just a regular putt on 18. Everybody still thinks that he would have won the tournament outright if it weren’t for the penalty and that is wrong. It was very unfortunate for Dustin, but knowing what kind of player he is, he is going to be there again and he will win a major eventually.”
Kaymer admits that even at the start of the final round five years ago, his aim was to play his way onto the European Ryder Cup team, rather than win his first major, so when it came to lifting the sizeable Wanamaker Trophy he was in a state of shock.
“At first it was super heavy,” he recalls. “Everybody asked me to hold it up and you struggle at some stage to do it. I’m not the Hulk or anyone, you know, but you don’t really mind that because obviously you’re so – I don’t even know if I was happy in that moment because I was in shock. I was really in shock. You could see my celebration was pretty much nothing because I didn’t really realise what was happening.
“But it’s a great trophy to have sitting in your living room, or sitting in your kitchen when you get up in the morning and you have breakfast next to it.”
Kaymer tees off in the first round today at 8:15am (2:15pm GMT) with Tiger Woods and Keegan Bradley.
Martin Kaymer is a Mercedes-Benz golf brand ambassador, and Mercedes-Benz is the Official Car of the 2015 PGA Championship.