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September 29, 2016

Martin Kaymer

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Thursday at the 41st Ryder Cup. I'm pleased to be joined by Martin Kaymer from Ryder Cup Europe.

Let's talk about your solid play. I think I counted six Top-10s in the last three or four months. Does that give you any piece of mind coming into a week like this?

MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, I mean, obviously a week like this, it's very vital that you come in in decent form. Obviously I played The Ryder Cup before, but still, when you get here, you want to perform as good as possible. You're a little bit under more pressure. And when you don't need to worry that much about your swing, about your play, about your putting, whatever it is, you know, it gives you a little bit more freedom, something you don't need to worry about, and you can enjoy playing the game and playing the matches a little bit more with a little bit less worry.

So obviously I'm very happy the way I played recently. I put myself obviously in good positions to give it a chance on Sunday afternoon. So I think I come into The Ryder Cup with decent form, but match play is always a bit different. So I look forward to Friday then.

JOHN DEVER: Curious, as you make your way around the world playing in all these tournaments in far-reaching portions of the globe, do you get asked more about winning two major championships or about that clinching putt at Medinah in 2012?

MARTIN KAYMER: Well, 100 percent the Ryder Cup. There's nothing bigger. The majors, it's kind of like a selfish win. I won it for myself, for my career, for my caddie. But The Ryder Cup putt includes hundreds of people.

You know, it's almost like in football or in soccer where for some people, that is almost like a religion. I was very glad that I got that gift in 2012 to have the opportunity to make something amazing happen in my career that will never happen again. There's nothing to compare it with, not the U.S. Open, not with any other major.

So people definitely recognize my career more because of The Ryder Cup putt than any other tournament I ever won in my career.

Q. What recollections do you have of your first Ryder Cup in 2010, and what messages can you impart on the six newcomers?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, the 2010 for me was a bit overwhelming. Obviously I was in Valhalla in 2008 because Nick Faldo invited me as a special guest, which by the way the best job you can have because there's no responsibility. You can just watch and talk to everyone.

In 2010, I was very glad that I played with a very experienced player. Westwood, he helped me a lot especially on that Friday morning when we played. I actually think we were in the first match, as well. So he hit the first tee shot.

And I thought the entire week, I need to make something special happen. I need to hit special or amazing golf shots. Because the only thing you see when you watch The Ryder Cup, most of the time you see the highlights and you only see great shots, bunker shots holed from the fairway, people hole out and things like this. So you think you need to do that, too. So I was not free enough to really play, and then obviously that changed when you play more Ryder Cup Matches.

And I hope that the rookies, that they somehow -- I know it's very difficult, and even for us, we've played The Ryder Cup before. But somehow that you try to find a way to calm yourself down and enjoy what you do.

So that's why for me it was very important yesterday, when I did a little putting competition with the Junior Ryder Cup team. Some of them, we did a little competition on the putting green. It's way too serious sometimes. And playing with the juniors brings a little bit more fun into it. It frees you up a little bit, it's a lot more chilled.

I really hope that the rookies can enjoy the amazing life experience that they are going to have on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So don't try anything special. Just play and enjoy what you love.

Q. This course presents a difficult challenge with the length. After playing the practice rounds, how comfortable do you feel out here?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, the good thing is, if it's a difficult or easy golf course, in match play, it doesn't really matter. There's no pressure of good scores. You just need to be one shot better than your opponent, and that's it. But it's definitely a golf course where you need to be fairly long from the tee. I think it gives you kind of like a little bit of an advantage.

We've played here before, or I've played here before in 2009 when Y.E. Yang won, so I could remember a few holes. But because it's fairly soft, it plays even longer.

So there's a lot about -- the fairways are fairly wide and if you miss a fairway, it's okay, but it's a lot about hitting those long irons precise. I'm not too worried about it. It's a good golf course.

I can't really tell if it's an advantage for the Americans or for the Europeans. Because even the Europeans, they play a lot on the PGA TOUR, so the conditions, I think they are good and ready for play.

Q. In The Ryder Cups you've played so far, do you feel you've walked into the European Team room and there's been a seamless transition? If so, how helpful is that for you as a player, it just moves effortlessly, the same scenario in the team room, same vibe, etc.?
MARTIN KAYMER: No, I think it became a little bit better over the years. For me I recognized it a little bit better. Because in 2010 and 2012, the first time it's very difficult to observe everything and understand. 2012, I was going into The Ryder Cup with not so good -- my form was not so good.

Now, I think it's a very calm atmosphere in our team room, but I felt the same in Gleneagles already. We just get along very well and we care. If you care for each other and take your ego out, and just play for the other 11 men, you know, it makes you very proud; and therefore, there's such a good energy and a lot of strength. In the team room, in the hotel, in the golf course, we have very good chats, very open and honest, and the team spirit is very, very strong.

Q. I'd like to ask you about Lee Westwood now. He's the sort of grand old man of The European Team, about maybe his influence behind the scenes and his experience. Talk a little bit about Lee.
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, Lee, is it his ninth Ryder Cup, 10th?

JOHN DEVER: Ten, I believe.

MARTIN KAYMER: If you think about that achievement alone, that already should give everyone enough respect for Lee Westwood. Not that he needs it because of the other achievements that he had in his career, but playing The Ryder Cup for the 10th time tells you that he's not only a good individual player but he's a good team player. And he draws people in, helps them, and makes everybody feel comfortable.

You know, 2010, when I played with him, I was so happy to have him next to me. And it was lucky that Montgomerie, that he paired me with him, because I would have played with anyone. But Montgomerie did that very, very well; that he thought, I think Kaymer can play the best with Westwood together.

So he brings a lot of calmness and peace into the team room. But also a lot of strength, because if you see him as a person, he's a very strong character, a very strong player, and I think that mix is very rare.

Similar, I always felt when I played practice rounds with Bernhard Langer, he's a very strong character but there is some calmness around him. And I think for golf, it's a very nice combination, and especially under stress situations and a lot of pressure situations, like The Ryder Cup is all about. It's great if you have someone like him on the team and even better if you can tee it up with him on Friday and Saturday.

Q. You're definitely one of the senior members of the team now. Has Darren given you a specific role? Do you know who you're playing with? Do you know how many times you're going to play? Have you had those kind of in-depth conversations about your role this year?
MARTIN KAYMER: I don't think Darren talks more or less to me than to any other player.

You know, for me, to be honest with you, it's nice -- it's nice being part of The Ryder Cup Team again. So you know, I don't need anything. I'm happy to be here, because once you play The Ryder Cup and made the experience that I made, especially in 2012, you just really don't want to miss out.

We talked about pairings, and I think Darren said it himself, that he's almost 100 percent sure already who is going to play with who, so we all kind of know what's happening, especially for Friday.

So the communication has been great. It's all fine. It's very clear. Very honest about things. But I don't see myself as somebody who has to be a leader of a team or so, just because it's my fourth time. Every player has their roles in the team, and I think you always have to respect where everybody is and let them do what they do best, and that's why the team is so strong, because everybody knows what they have to do.

And that's why I think Darren, the picks that he uses, I think they had a lot of thoughts behind it. So I think we should be fine for the week.

Q. I wouldn't want you to reveal any team secrets or anything, but why weren't any of the European players wearing hats?
MARTIN KAYMER: Why we don't wear hats?

JOHN DEVER: We haven't seen a hat all week.

MARTIN KAYMER: I don't know. Want to show our pretty hair? I don't know. Why we don't wear our hats? (Shrugs shoulders) Maybe we bring some out tomorrow. I don't know. I have a small head; the hats that were in the locker room don't fit my head well.

JOHN DEVER: Thank you for your time and please enjoy your week at Hazeltine, sir.

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