Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)
Springfield - Inspired by his upcoming Rio Olympics golf appearance, Germany's Martin Kaymer has regained the form that made him a two-time major winner and become a PGA Championship title threat.
Kaymer fired a four-under-par 66 on Thursday at Baltusrol to stand one stroke off the pace of US leader Jimmy Walker after the first round of the year's final major tournament, moved up two weeks because of next month's Olympic golf event.
"I'm part of the Olympic Games. I really look forward to see the best athletes and lunch with them and see what they do, see how they work out, maybe have a chance to talk to some of the guys," Kaymer said.
"If you have, for example, (NBA star) Dirk Nowitzki there, (18-time Olympic champion swimmer) Michael Phelps and those guys, they are the best in what they do. It's so inspiring and I really look forward to go and experience that."
Kaymer could provide some elite athletes their ultimate golf tips, having won the 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 US Open.
The 31-year-old German has not won another title since romping to victory at Pinehurst by eight strokes two years ago. But he is feeling the Olympic thrill and that might help him join Seve Ballesteros and Rory McIlroy as the only European players to win three majors before age 32.
"I just look really forward to see the best in the world in sports," Kaymer said. "I would like to see some other sports. And not only the Germans, all the other different countries. I just would like to see the best athletes in their sports."
MESSI, FEDERER BOOST KAYMER
"I watched Lionel Messi a couple times when Barcelona played against Bayern Munich and I went to the stadium, just to see the class. The natural talent of an athlete is amazing. You can work as hard as you want but you are never going to get there.
"If you see Roger Federer, the way he plays tennis, it's so nice that he almost looks like he doesn't think much. He just does what he's supposed to do."
Kaymer made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in round one, which he began off the 10th tee. Birdie putts from 10 feet at 15 and 17 were followed by a tap-in birdie at the par-5 18th, a 21-foot birdie putt at the first and, after a bogey at two when he missed the green with his approach, a 12-foot birdie putt at the third.
"In general I kept it together and created chances, and I think that's the key," Kaymer said. "You just need to drive it very well.
Kaymer says it's understandable how he would have a dip in performance after major wins that could turn into a two-year win drought.
"I think it's normal that once an athlete has a lot of success, it takes a little bit of time, you want to enjoy the success," he said.
"It has to settle in and for some people it takes a little bit longer. Maybe I'm a little bit slow in terms of that."