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August 15, 2010

Martin Kaymer


KELLY ELBIN: Ladies and gentlemen, entering the room is the 2010 PGA champion, Martin Kaymer. Today Martin earned his first major championship at age 25 and he is the first German to win the PGA Championship and the second European Tour in three years to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy. What does it mean to you to be the PGA Champion?
MARTIN KAYMER: Obviously I had a few questions like this today already and obviously I can't really answer that question. I don't really realize what was just happening today. Obviously it was a very exciting week, and to win my -- I hope it's one of many majors that I will win in my career, it's spectacular.
KELLY ELBIN: Can you talk a little about the playoff. You and Bubba came to the third playoff hole tied, what your thinking was on the shot you hit after Bubba had hit his second in the water.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, obviously when he was pulling a long iron out of his bag, I thought that he would have a shot and that he can place it on the green, so I thought about going for it, as well.
But when he hit it in the water hazard, I thought, you know, he will make the -- the best he can make is five. So I thought if I laid up and give myself a chance for a par, I give myself a chance to win the PGA Championship, and what was what I wanted to do.

Q. Did you keep an eye on the leaderboard at all, especially on the back nine? And second question, did you hear the camera click on your birdie putt on 17 in the playoff some?
MARTIN KAYMER: I had a look on the leaderboard the first nine holes, and then I was trying to avoid to look at the leaderboard. I said to my caddie on the sixth hole, I said, "It doesn't really matter what happened today, but it's the first time in my career that I'm leading a major championship."
I told him, "It's a pretty cool feeling." So on the back nine, what I said already, I was trying to avoid the leaderboard. I just wanted to play my own game, I just wanted to make good golf shots and just play golf, you know, just try to enjoy the atmosphere out there.
And on 17, I didn't hear anything, to be honest with you. I just heard the camera on 18 when I was trying to make my third shot.

Q. You said you were trying not on the back nine, to look at the scoreboard when you were in the lead and whatnot. With all of the craziness, you're coming home on 18, you're in a three-man playoff, then a two-man playoff, you had to be aware, a little bit, I would imagine, as to how tight this thing got and how in flux it was. What was the feeling like out there? Was it exciting? What was it like down at the end?
MARTIN KAYMER: You mean on the regular round or in the playoff?

Q. The regular round.
MARTIN KAYMER: I knew that I was always leading tournament after the sixth hole I played. I was just trying to avoid big numbers or stupid mistakes. I always wanted to give myself chances for birdie and the worst I do is par. That was my goal.
Sometimes you hear the spectators freaking out here and there and then you think, oh, what happened there. But I just told myself, I cannot really -- I don't have any influence of the game of the other guys. I can just take care of my own game, and that was I think the most important thought that I was carrying all day.

Q. How long was the putt on 18 in regulation to tie? And when you did win, you didn't show a ton of emotion; do you just try to keep your emotions in check? Is that just your nature?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, if I would have made that par putt in the playoff, I probably would have freaked out. But it was only, it was a little bit more than a foot, 1 1/2 foot, to win it. And when I was walking towards the putt, I just thought, I mean, I should really think about that feeling, what I have now. I really wanted to enjoy that moment. It was just a 2-foot putt, so I was not expecting myself to miss that putt.
But to get in the playoff, the par putt, I can tell you the meters, probably five meters. That's 15 feet.
MARTIN KAYMER: 15 feet. But for me, what I said already, it was a very nice feeling to have that putt to win and for me it was a very makeable putt. It was not a putt that you usually miss, so it was important for me to enjoy that moment.

Q. Back to the 72nd hole par putt, what was going through your head there? That had to be some pretty swirling emotions there.
MARTIN KAYMER: Sorry. I couldn't follow.
KELLY ELBIN: The question has to do with your emotions making the putt to get into the playoff.
MARTIN KAYMER: It took me a long time to read that putt. I can remember from Monday and Tuesday, I made that putt a lot of times in the practice rounds, and I was sure it didn't break that much but my caddie, he brought out this little book with how much the putt will break, and it took us a while to figure out where my target is going to be. But then I just decided on where I wanted to go and I hit a pure putt and I knew once I hit it, it has a good chance; and when it was a foot or two foot short of the hole, it was always in the middle of the hole.
Obviously it was a very important putt, but for me, for my future, I think it's very important that I know whatever happens, I can make those very, very important putts.

Q. You obviously come from a country where golf is not that big; I'm just curious if you could talk a little about Bernhard Langer's influence, if he was an idol of yours growing up, even though there's quite an age difference, and anybody else that you looked up to as an idol trying to get to this level?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, obviously what Bernhard Langer did in his career, I think I have a long way to go. He was always one of my heros, for sure.
My role model was and still is Ernie Els. I just love that guy, how the guy swings the golf club. But I just hope with the win, golf is getting bigger and bigger in Germany. I'm trying to make golf more popular in Germany. Bernhard Langer, obviously he inspired me when I was a kid, and I hope that I can inspire teenagers, as well.
And if you follow the Champions Tour a little bit, you can see, Bernhard, he just won two majors in a row. Well, actually, I have to win the Masters next year then to accomplish that.

Q. We all know that you're one of the best players on The European Tour, but most Americans haven't had a chance to meet you yet. Can you tell us a little bit of what you like to do for your hobbies and do off of the golf course and what you like to do for fun? And secondly, Americans go over to the U.K. and play a lot, but can you tell us some great courses in Continental Europe that we might get a chance to visit and play that you like?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I wouldn't say that I'm a very -- I'm a pretty normal guy, if you know the Germans, most of the people in the world think that they are boring people. I think I'm -- I'm not boring, but I'm not like a crazy, crazy guy. I'm very normal; how you see me on the golf course, that's the way I am when I have my time off.
And second question was what kind of tournaments I recommend?
KELLY ELBIN: Having to do with some of the courses in Europe.
MARTIN KAYMER: You see before the British Open, a lot of guys come to Loch Lomond and play the golf course, and I talked to a lot of guys last year when the Race to Dubai started in Europe, a lot of guys came up to me and asked me, hey, where would you recommend to go, what tournament would you recommend to go. And for example, Camilo Villegas, he came up to me and asked me about a few tournaments, and I think it's just nice for us that American players can come over to Europe; and you can see that our tour used to be not so good, or used to be worse than the PGA TOUR. But if you have a look on the World Rankings right now, The European Tour, where they are, all of the European players, where they are right now, there are so many in the Top-50. So you can see that The European Tour, they did an enormous job the last few years. And I can just hope that the American players, that they helped The European Tour a little bit, and of course we are trying to help the PGA TOUR a little bit, and I think it's great for everybody then.

Q. One of the spin-offs of winning is a guaranteed Ryder Cup this year. Can you just put it into words what it means to you after you went to Valhalla to watch the last one?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I was, on one hand, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't play in 2008, because I was very close. On the other hand, I was very happy that Nick Faldo called me and gave me the invitation to go there and have a look and a feel for The Ryder Cup and how it's going to be one day for me. Because he told me, he's pretty sure that I'm going to be there one day, and obviously I will be in Wales this year.
This tournament was very important for me to secure my ticket to Wales. My goal at the beginning of the season was to finish in the Top-10; yeah, what I did at the U.S. Open and the British Open already. But to be honest with you, I was never really expecting myself to win here on Sunday. I know that I had a chance, but, you know, majors, they are a little bit different than normal golf tournaments that we play week to week.

Q. I know it's only just sinking in, but what do you think it's going to mean to be Major Champion now the rest of your career and how do you think it might change your career being a major winner?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, the majors is the biggest tournaments that you can win in your career. I cannot win anything bigger. The majors, they are the biggest tournaments we play, and just knowing that I can win a tournament like that gives me huge confidence for any other tournament I will play for the rest of my career.
And obviously, to win the other majors, they are a little bit different. If you play in Britain, obviously you have to play a little bit different golf. But now I know that I can win and that I can beat the best players in the world. This was the toughest field all year, and that's just -- you know, just for myself, just for my confidence, that is I think the biggest thing that you can get.

Q. What about the rest of your life --
MARTIN KAYMER: My life, well, I hope it doesn't change at all. I'm pretty happy about my life. I cannot think about something better. I love playing golf. I have a great family; that's the most important for me. My goal is to just stay like this, don't change; why should I change? I mean, okay, I won a golf tournament, but there are more important things in life than winning golf tournaments. Obviously when you tee off here on Thursday, you want to win the golf tournament, but in the end of the day, it's just golf, and sometimes there are way more important things in life than golf.

Q. With the way that craziness ensued this afternoon, in the three-hole playoff, is it sort of appropriate the way this thing ended, that there were two lead changes even in the three-hole playoff? Was it an appropriate end to a wild day?
MARTIN KAYMER: First of all, I was very -- I don't know if sad is the right word, but I was a little bit shocked about Dustin Johnson. Can you imagine if he would have made that putt on 18, he would have thought he won the golf tournament, and then all of a sudden he finished -- I don't know what he would have finished then.
But to play against Bubba, I knew that it's going to be very difficult to play against him, because he plays pretty much two par 3s and one par 4. I knew he has a good chance to reach the green on 10 and it was never really a big surprise for me that he made a three.
I knew I was striking the ball well. I gave myself a chance on 17, but I was never expecting myself to win the playoff with level par. I thought I would have to shoot at least 1-under par.

Q. What was going through your mind during the delay between the time you finished and the playoff actually started?
MARTIN KAYMER: To be honest with you, I didn't really know what to do. I didn't know if I should go to the range, should I eat, should I -- I don't know, I didn't really know what to do.
Because obviously Dustin Johnson, he was 12-under, and I was not expecting him to make -- what did he do on 18 now, 7 maybe? So I was not expecting him to lose a shot there.
So of course you're hoping to still have a chance to win the major championship, but I just wanted to relax and watch him play the last couple of holes.

Q. You seemed unflappable all day on the course; I guess what helps you stay in the moment and stay calm when you're on the course?
MARTIN KAYMER: I don't understand that, flappable, what does that mean?

Q. You seemed unflappable all day, you never seemed nervous all day or in the playoff. How do you stay so calm on the course?
MARTIN KAYMER: I was not so calm in the last round to be honest. The last four or five holes I was quite nervous to be honest. But I played solid golf. My short game was very good today. It was important that I could save pars the last few holes.
The calmness, I was very, very calm in the playoff. You know, the pressure kind of like -- it sounds strange, but the pressure is kind of like gone, because the worst you can do is finish second. Of course you want to win the golf tournament, but it kind of like relaxed me, and I knew what I have to do. I just have to beat one guy and that's it. And that gave me -- I don't know, I was very calm until the putt on 18. I asked my caddie, "Do we have two or three putts to win now?"
He said, "You have two putts, just put it there, put the last putt in and you've won your first major," he said.
I don't know why I was so aggressive with that putt, but it didn't matter, I made it.

Q. Could you talk a little bit more, do you agree with the PGA's ruling on Dustin Johnson on the penalty? And do you worry that the discussion over that will take anything away from your accomplishment?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I think on this golf course, it was very tough to see, what is a bunker and what is not a bunker. What I said earlier already; I think it's very sad he got two penalty strokes. He played great golf. He's a very nice guy. To see that he never really -- after that, he didn't have a chance anymore to win a major, or to win a golf tournament, it was -- for Bubba and me, we were sitting in the locker room and we talked about it.
Of course, for us, you know, we said, okay, it's only between us now, but it's still sad to see, because he didn't do it on purpose; he didn't knew it before he -- until he realized that he put his club down in the sand, and then I think it came to his head that it might be a bunker. But what I said already, it's very sad to see, and, yeah, I don't know what to say. It was sad for Bubba and me.

Q. Did you change your strategy any after Bubba made that birdie putt on 10, the first playoff hole?
MARTIN KAYMER: No, what I said already, I knew it was a par 3 for him. I cannot reach that hole. Probably Dustin would have been there, too and I would have played against the best long hitters on TOUR. I play par 4, par 4, par 3, and they play par 3, par 3, par 3. And I have to make a birdie on 17 because they are going to make a 3 on 10, anyways. I didn't change anything, I was expecting it, to be honest.

Q. With all of the other sports that you have in Germany, with football and skiing and everything, what led you to golf and did you have to pick golf over another sport?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I played soccer when I was young, I was playing soccer when I was three years old and I was playing until I was 15. I started playing golf when I was 10, 11; my dad, he took my brother and me out to a public range and we really enjoyed to play golf together with the whole family.
When I was 15, my parents came up to me and told me, you're going to spend too much time on the golf course and too much time on the soccer field, so you have to decide what you want to do. Obviously, with everybody expecting me to be a professional athlete; so I said, I like golf more than soccer I think.
Obviously soccer is bigger in Germany than golf, but for me, it was just, you know, I just loved enjoying -- yeah, I enjoyed to be out on the golf course early in the morning by myself, nobody is disturbing me. That was for me, yeah, is still one of the nicest moments. That's why I was choosing golf instead of soccer.

Q. There were a lot of players in the 20s here in contention; do you feel you have rivalries with Dustin and Rory? And can you talk about the future of rivalries with people in their 20s now?
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, I got that question a lot of times the last couple of days and I think it's fantastic for the game of golf. It's so nice, if you see the other guys, if you see the young players playing golf courses these days, how aggressive they play.
And I watch it on the GOLF CHANNEL a few times when I go back to Phoenix, I watch the GOLF CHANNEL always in the mornings and I'm very surprised how aggressive they play. And I look back at my own game and I play kind of the same, but it just looks different when they play.
I think it's great for the game of golf and great for Europeans and Americans. I just think if you have a look at The Ryder Cup this year, how many young players are playing against each other; I just really look forward to playing against Rory, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, all of those guys. It's just fantastic, and I think we will have a lot of young major winners in the next five, six years.

Q. In the playoff on 18, if you had to hit first, can you describe, with your lie, what club could you have gotten on the ball and how you think you might have played the hole if you had gone first?
MARTIN KAYMER: If I had hit first, I probably would have hit a 6-iron towards the right edge of the green. I thought I had an okay lie. I knew that it would carry the water hazard on the right side, it was only 120 yards to carry and I could easily do that with a 6-iron even if it comes out bad, that would have been my strategy.
But after Bubba's shot, for me, there was no other decision than laying up.

Q. Other than The Ryder Cup and the majors, how will your playing schedule change next year?
MARTIN KAYMER: I don't think at all. I will play more in America. You know, that's my goal, to become a member on the PGA TOUR; obviously I have that card for next year. I just wanted to play more golf in America, because I know and I feel that my game is getting better when I play in America. We obviously play different golf courses in Europe, and I just want to become a better golf player. And in order to become a better golf player, I have to play on different continents and different states and different countries.
So that is probably what I'm going to do next year.

Q. How will you select the tournaments you're adding to your schedule in the United States? Which ones will you add?
MARTIN KAYMER: I played a couple -- a few tournaments the last couple of years already in America. I played the Memorial, I played in Houston, I played the FBR Open. I would like to play more in Florida, because I never really played well in Florida until this year. I played well in Doral, but I'm not very familiar with that bermudagrass, and I think that is one part that I can really improve on my game, to get used to playing on bermudagrass. So I will play probably a few more tournaments in Florida next year.

Q. We saw today a lot of players, when they are trying to contend for a first major, make a lot of mistakes; are there any tournaments back when you were contending for the first couple of times that taught you about being in contention? And you talked about things more important in life; can you talk about what you've been through in your life, especially with your mother and how that impacts your life and your golf?
MARTIN KAYMER: What's your question?

Q. Any good learning experiences as far as tournaments you were in contention?
MARTIN KAYMER: Like the U.S. Open, the British Open this year?

Q. Yeah, exactly. And you talked about things that are more important in life, your perspective, what you've been through, has given you?
MARTIN KAYMER: Of course, the British Open, U.S. Open, last year, the PGA Championship, that put me in a good position already to know and get the feeling how it's going to be on a final day leading or being up there in a major championship.
The British Open this year, that for me was very tough to see myself playing like this the last four or five holes. I played 4-over par the last four holes, and that was shocking for me, because I never really screwed up a tournament before. That was, for me, I thought about it for a long time what the reason was, and that helped me a lot today, for sure.
I mean, I think you don't really have to be a genius to know that there are more important things in life than golf. For everybody, their family should always be the most important and after that they can comment on whatever.
KELLY ELBIN: The names of many of golf's greatest players are inscribed on the Wanamaker Trophy. Has it sunk in that your name is going to be added to that trophy?
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, I heard that on the replica, my name is on there already. It's cool to see my name next to Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and all those guys. I don't know, it will take me a while to realize what happened.
KELLY ELBIN: Martin Kaymer, the 92nd PGA Champion.

End of FastScripts

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