Martin Kaymer on the fine line between Ryder Cup hero and the 'biggest idiot'
So, what's it like to sink the winning putt at the Ryder Cup?
I'll never have a more important putt. I had to hole it. There was no other option. It was such a fine line between being the hero or the biggest idiot.
Normally you're so reserved. Explain your emotional reaction after the putt dropped.
That celebration was all about the passion and excitement that it was over. It was very tiring. You could see my emotions. I haven't seen myself on a golf course like that before. When I hugged my brother, I asked him, "How did I look on TV? Did I look ridiculous?" He said, "No, no, you're fine. Even if you did look ridiculous, it's a good thing because it's a true feeling."
How often have you watched it?
Quite a few times. I watched a replay for the first time two weeks later. It was a little weird because I got nervous even though I knew the result. [Smiles]
As you approached the putt, did you think about Bernhard Langer's infamous miss at Kiawah in 1991?
Yes, when I was standing behind the ball, I saw a footprint and it crossed my mind. I thought of Bernhard for maybe one-hundredth of a second.
Which was more daunting: your putt to win the Ryder Cup or your putt to win the 2010 PGA Championship?
The Ryder Cup was much more pressure. If I screwed up the PGA, it would have been my own fault. I could blame myself and move on to the next major. But the Ryder Cup — it could cost you your career. It could be difficult to get over it. The biggest difference was that the putt to win the PGA was new for me. I didn't really know what was happening at that moment. But at the Ryder Cup, I knew for the last hour what this was for.
You spent eight weeks as World No. 1 in 2011. What pressure did that bring and can you get back there?
Being World No. 1 doesn't really mean you are the best player. I didn't feel that. It was a little bit too early for me. But that's what's stunning about Rory [McIlroy]. He has accepted his role and it drives him to become better. That's impressive. Once I get into that position again — and hopefully I'll have the chance — I'll be prepared to be No. 1 again. And feel like it.
You are taking up PGA Tour membership for the first time in 2013. Why now?
I'm ready now. I've achieved a few things and mentally I feel ready to approach it with different goals. It doesn't really make any difference to my schedule in Europe and the States. I'll maybe play two or three more [PGA Tour] tournaments, that's all.
After winning the PGA, you rebuilt your swing to learn how to hit a draw, a shot shape you felt you needed to win at Augusta. Was that the cause of your poor form in 2011 and '12?
I didn't change my swing only to have a draw for the Masters. It's a tournament where it's quite handy if you can play a draw, but I didn't change for just that one tournament. And my form did not go wrong. I improved. But if you change something, the improvement doesn't show straight away. Now I'm playing well.
You shot a 59 in 2006. Can you do it again?
Once you think you have the chance to shoot 59, you probably won't. When I shot mine [at the Habsberg Classic in Germany], I was just so into every single shot that I didn't realize I had a putt for a 59. Which was maybe a good thing. [Smiles]