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August 12, 2015

Martin Kaymer

Kohler, Wisconsin, USA

JOHN DEVER: Well, good morning, everybody, and welcome back to the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. I would like to thank Martin Kaymer for spending some time here with us this morning. Martin, welcome to your 8th PGA Championship. And as the Whistling Straits defending champion, if you will, I wonder what that's like coming back here and your impressions of the golf course early on.

MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I believe it plays a little bit different than five years ago. It's a little bit softer than the way we played it in 2010. But it's very, very difficult to put into words where you won your first Major. If you're a Major winner, it's very difficult to describe that feeling because it doesn't really do it justice trying to put it into words.

Craig and me, my caddie and me, we came here before the U.S. Open already, played a few rounds, so therefore I don't need it practice as much this week, but it brought back very good memories before the U.S. Open, before we played there. And obviously coming back here this week you can like feel the same when you were playing the last two or three holes, obviously remembering all the shots that you hit.

JOHN DEVER: So that begs the question, do you think you can win here this week? And what sets up on the golf course that worked for you in 2010 and does it translate to this year, do you think?

MARTIN KAYMER: Well, in 2010 I didn't make many mistakes, I really avoided the big numbers and I believe if you miss the fairways once in a while you have to accept that that bogey is not a bad score. It's very easy to make double bogey or even worse, sometimes when you're in those bunkers, you can have some very strange lies, strange stance in there.

So the key back then I hit a good amount of fairways, but my putting was very good. I think that that's what we saw this year at a lot of the Majors, when Jordan won in Augusta and the U.S. Open the way he putted, that's the same way I felt on the greens five years ago and that was pretty much the key and hopefully I can do the same this year again and give it a go on Sunday.

JOHN DEVER: Okay. Questions?

Q. If someone asked you to describe the specific test and challenge of this golf course, how would you sum it up? What makes this golf course distinct?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well the golf course is -- there are a few holes on the golf course there's a good side to miss it and a bad side. For example, if you take the 6th hole -- no, that's too complicated, it's a very strange green there.

Let's take 13. The par-4. The tiny dogleg to the right. If you miss it down the left side, you can chase it up towards the green. If you miss the fairway and the left. If you miss it right, I've been there five years ago and you have very, very awkward stance, you don't really see the green from down there. You really need to know on what holes where you can miss it. Obviously, you're not playing for the miss, but it's obviously good to know when the wind is blowing, okay, I would rather miss it on this side and I might have a chance to get it on to the green still. So things like this makes the golf course a little bit tricky. So it's not so much about hitting always the perfect shot, it's really knowing, how can I manage my way around here in a smart way. If I don't play -- if I have an okay day of ball striking, how can I still shoot something around par.

Obviously, you need a low round in order to compete, but you just need to wait for that low round. If it comes, great, if it doesn't come, then maybe it wasn't your week. But it's very important, especially here, that you keep your game together, if you have one of those days where you don't strike it as good as usually.

Q. Obviously a lot was made of the incident involving Dustin Johnson five years ago. But can you just reflect on how well you played, not only to get into the playoff, but also to respond when obviously Bubba started with a birdie in a three hole playoff.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well first of all I need to say it's a little sad that every time I -- we talk about the PGA Championship here it's like that Dustin threw it away. Of course, if you would have made the putts on 18 and if he would have not gotten the penalty stroke, he would have won the tournament. The penalty stroke was very unlucky. The putt, it was just a regular putt that he missed. Obviously, he would have been in the playoff. And it's always a little bit that everybody still thinks that he would have won the tournament outright. So, yeah, it's obviously -- it was very unfortunate for him, but on the other hand, knowing what kind of player he is, he will be in that position again. So, if it would have happened to a player who will never be there again, then you feel very, very sorry for Dustin. You know he's going to be there again and he will win a Major eventually.

So, for me playing in the playoff back then, to be honest, I didn't really care if it was one player or two players or three players. Because at the end of the day, you have to do your very best and try to make as many birdies as possibly. And I was so much very surprised, as well, that all of a sudden I was in the playoff, because my goal was not really winning the PGA Championship when I played the last round. For me the main goal was to get into the Ryder Cup team back then. And obviously after my round on Sunday I knew it was enough, so I was very happy about it. I didn't even think that there might be a playoff. And I signed my card and all those things happened and all of a sudden I was standing on the 10th tee again, knowing that Bubba, he can get home in -- on the green, with the first shot, on 10. And I knew that I needed to pick up a shot on 17 and 18, one of those holes, because I was pretty much sure that he would make birdie on 10. For me it above been a bonus. So, fortunately, 17, I made that birdie and then we were all square and obviously what happened on 18 we have all seen it. So, for me it was a very clear picture that I probably -- well I knew that I would be probably one behind after the 10th hole.

Q. Two questions, I'm curious, as you mentioned 17, I think it was a 3-iron that day. Of all the things -- 5-iron, sorry, I was thinking of Zach Johnson. Anyway, of all the things you've accomplished, especially with Pinehurst and the great shots you hit, where do you rate that shot under the circumstances?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, back then, five years ago I was not really able to draw the ball. And that shot I needed a high draw in order to get there or at least to give it a go to get close to the flag. And I did hit that shot. So for me it was an outstanding golf shot, because it was very, very difficult back then to hit that shot for me and under those circumstances I tried the shot and I did hit it. And then I made birdie.

So, knowing this feeling or that and walking on to the 18th tee box, what I've just done, for people, yeah, it's a good shot and he made a good putt, but for me it was very special, it gave me a lot of great feeling walking to the 18th.

Q. And as we go to this year and your results haven't been up to par, what do you see is going on with your game right now?
MARTIN KAYMER: Through my --

Q. Your game. Your results haven't been that great this year, I'm curious why.
MARTIN KAYMER: The beginning of the season was fine. And then I said a lot already about the Masters, the preparation was all about the Masters. And I did so much, probably way too much practice, too much in the gym, too much focus on only one tournament and then didn't perform the way I wanted because I was going into the Masters a little bit tired already from that much practice, because I really wanted it really bad.

It was just very, very frustrating. Very disappointing that I couldn't play the rounds that I wished for. It took me probably five, six weeks to get over it, really and to be okay with it and focus again on the upcoming tournaments. And the last few weeks I played really good golf. The score didn't really reflect it, but sooner or later it will.

Q. With so much talk about Dustin Johnson this week, do you feel like you're getting overlooked or that you're coming into the tournament under the radar?
MARTIN KAYMER: No, it's fine that you have that talk about it. It's very normal. I think Dustin, he will have a good chance this week again to win here. It would be quite a funny story if he would win here.

The only thing that I -- it's just a little sad that every time you talk about Whistling Straits, it's -- people talk about that he would have won. He would have been in the playoff. And it would have been still Bubba, Dustin and me. And that's the only thing that's it's a little strange about the whole thing. Obviously, again it was sad to see. You fight for something so hard and then things like this happen on the 72nd hole. It's never nice to see for anyone. And you don't wish that on anyone.

In Dustin's case you know what I said earlier, he will have plenty more chances to win Majors and it would be a very interesting story if he would raise the trophy on Sunday.

Q. When you win this tournament, you're handed a big old trophy. What are your memories of picking up the trophy for the first time and your memories of your time with the trophy in general?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well at first it was super heavy. Everybody asks me to hold it up and I -- you struggle at some stage to hold it up. 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 you're happy in that moment because you're so in shock. I was really in shock. You could see my celebration was pretty much nothing because I didn't really realize what was happening.

But it's a great trophy to have sitting in your living room, sitting in your kitchen when you get up in the morning and you have breakfast next to it. It's a very -- it's a feeling that you achieved something very special. It's a career goal and when you win one of those big tournaments, those Majors, early in your career, it takes a lot of pressure away as well. Obviously a lot of guys they fight for it for the last 10, 15 years, trying to get that Major, trying to get that Major, because you are apparently not a complete player if you don't, that's what everybody says. You've got so much pressure. I was very happy that I got this out of the way early and then you can really move forward and play a lot more relaxed.

Q. When you look back at the way you handled things after you won, what would you have done differently in terms of your reaction to the expectations and everything that came with being a Major champion so young?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, back then I didn't know better. Now, I would have -- if you put me back in the position again, I would have done a lot of things more the way I wanted. I followed a lot of people, what they said, what I should do, what I'm supposed to say in interviews, to what kind of shows I'm supposed to go to, and I lost a little focus of the game, because obviously I was playing good golf. And then 2011 and 2012 I went through a lot of changes off the golf course, because of that. Because your status has changed. When you win a Major then you become the No. 1 in the world, you get a lot more attention and you need to adjust a lot as a person. For me it was, I needed to adjust very quickly to things that I didn't really want to adjust to but you have to.

I would have just done a few more things the way I wanted it, even though it would have maybe taken a little bit longer, but you feel more in control and you're the one who is actually the active person.

Q. If a sports fan in general considers the great German sporting figures, you wouldn't obviously be on that list, but I'm just curious in Germany, the main sports fan, do you think they have an understanding of how hard it is to win in golf and are there expectations you have to live up to compared with other sports?

Q. Does that make sense?
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, I think the athletes, the athletes in Germany, they understand. Other sports, guys if they play soccer or they play basketball or whatever it is, they understand how difficult it is. I think a similar situation is with Dirk Nowitzki. I think he's in a similar situation. What he has achieved, obviously a lot more than me, but he's all the time in America and he's achieving things that are incredible for someone in general playing basketball and especially for him coming from the country where basketball is not so big. I don't even know if he wouldn't be that tall if people would recognize him in Germany.

So that is I think a little bit similar to golf, that they see the success and they see, okay, yeah, he's the best German golf player that we have, but they don't know, I don't think, that everyone who is not so much into sports understands the difficulties or, yeah, the difficulties of how tough it is to be one of the best players in the world.

But, again, you do it for yourself. You do it because you enjoy the challenges that you face every single time and you have a passion for it. And obviously we hope to get even more focused on golf this year and hopefully in a few years' time when we hopefully get the Ryder Cup as well. But I think Dirk Nowitzki and me, we are pretty much, in that case, fairly similar.

Q. You mentioned the TV shows that you went on. Which TV shows did you go on that you didn't like and which ones would you have preferred to go on to?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I wouldn't name any one, but there were a couple where I thought that you sit there on the stage and you talk about stuff that you think -- I mean who cares? Who cares? It has nothing to do with you, it's just general questions, has nothing to do with the person. Obviously, we're all different people and if I have someone sitting there that I'm wanting to interview, I'm interested in the person, how did you manage -- like more about the insides, about the personality, about the character. And if you talk about stuff that you talk about for the last 10 years already, when did you play golf, when did you start it, da, da, da, da, da. It's like, wow, it's a waste for everyone, even the people sitting at home watching TV. They can read it. And you ask yourself, what's the point? Just to show your face and that people recognize you more often on TV or even on the street that they say, oh, yeah, I've seen you on TV but I was not really interested in the things you were talking about. You know, that is, for me, it's a waste of time not only for me, for everyone, really.

JOHN DEVER: Glad I didn't ask you about when you started to play golf then.



JOHN DEVER: Anybody else? Martin Kaymer, many thanks. Best of luck this week.

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