PGA Tour

Kaymer a changed man for Whistling Straits return

2015-08-11 10:20
Martin Kaymer (AFP)

Cape Town - Five years ago, Martin Kaymer was overwhelmed by the level of media attention and heightened expectations from his German fans after he won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Now aged 30, he is much wiser and more careful with how he handles media and sponsors' commitments as he heads back to the spectacular links-style layout that hugs the shores of Lake Michigan for the year's final major championship.

"Back then, I was more being told what I should say, what I should do," said Kaymer, who has since added a second major title to his impressive resume with an eight-stroke victory at last year's U.S. Open.

"You should go to this TV show or you should do this, you should do that. And I thought, 'What's the point? What am I doing there? I don't know what I should talk about, and I don't like this TV person. I don't like to go there.'

"But it's just part of it. That's what you do. Then you ask yourself, 'Do you want to be part of that whole circus?' You do this, you do that, but you don't even know why you're sitting there."

Kaymer, who is known for his meticulous approach to the game, now handles such requests very differently.

"I would say, 'I want to do this, this, and this. Can you help me, getting me there or not?' Then you're more the active person, and that was not the case back then," the former world number one said.

The biggest challenge for Kaymer after he won the 2010 PGA Championship in a playoff with American left-hander Bubba Watson was trying to cope with extraordinary expectations heaped upon him back in Germany.

"It's difficult to handle when you're 25 years old and in that position," the Dusseldorf native said.

"When you have someone (Michael Schumacher) driving in the Formula 1 who wins 80 percent of the races and you have the German football team that wins a lot, and then you're number one in the world in golf, then why don't you win (every time)?

"Top 10 is a disappointment. Missing the cut ... you cannot even describe this. The whole world is down on you. Now it's different. You think, 'OK, you just have to say whatever. Whatever they say is fine. I don't care.'"

Kaymer is relishing the opportunity of playing Whistling Straits this week, a course he rates as one of his top three in the world.

"It's beautiful to play," he said. "It's really, really nice to see the surroundings. You don't mind if you have to wait a few minutes because you can just have a look at the lake, at the dunes.

"It can play a little bit like links-style, which I enjoy anyways, and obviously the memories, the experience that I had in 2010, all those combined, it will be a great week."

The 97th PGA Championship starts on Thursday.

Read more on:    pga championship  |  martin kaymer  |  golf

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