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November 3, 2010

Martin Kaymer


SCOTT CROCKETT: Martin, thank you very much for coming in and joining us, and welcome to the HSBC Champions.
It's been a great year for you, obviously. Just give us your reflections on the year that you've had so far and your thoughts coming into this week.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, obviously it was a fantastic year for me. To win my first major; to win The Ryder Cup this year, is way above my expectations to be honest. But obviously when you win a major, you know that you can win kind of like any tournament in the world.
Going into this week, yes, I'm playing well. I played very well the last few months and going into this week, I feel very, very confident about my game. Hopefully I can play well again, and make sure that I win The Race to Dubai somehow.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Everybody talks about goals, Martin. You've won on The European Tour, you've won on a major championship; you've not won a WGC, sort of in the middle. Is that a goal for you starting this week?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I'm here to win the tournament, and in the stats, yeah, it's a World Golf Championships event and I haven't won in Asia yet. That would be fantastic to win in Asia. I won in America this year, The PGA Championship. I won in Europe a few times, so the only thing that is missing where we play often is Asia.
So that would be nice to win here. Obviously to win a World Golf Championships is similar to win a major.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You battled hard last week at Valderrama, and just didn't quite happen for you. Just give us your thoughts on last week.
MARTIN KAYMER: I was playing okay, but my putting was not very good. I couldn't really drop a putt. Sometimes you have those weeks where you can't score well enough. I still finished 21st, which was probably the worst score I could shoot that week. So it was still okay.
You know, I didn't play bad golf, and that was important for me going into this week, knowing that I hit the ball well; if a few more putts will drop this week, I think I can play well again.

Q. The other two players said that they can be No. 1 in the world because they played many tournaments; and what do you think of it? You are still quite a young player.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You're still quite young, but you still have a chance to become No. 1 in the world. What are your thoughts?
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, last week --

Q. The other two players, Tiger Woods didn't win, but he stayed No. 1 for a long time, and Lee Westwood goes to No. 1 but he rested for a lot of time because of his injury.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I'm still very young. You know, I'm only four years on Tour; and I think Tiger the last ten years or last 12 years, he's the No. 1 in the world. I think in everybody's head, he is still the best player in the world. And even for us, we play against him every week, and it's always a fantastic challenge to play against him, and he is the No. 1 in the world. Of course he's playing not so good at the moment but he has some reasons obviously, but everybody hopes that he will come back to the way he was before.
When people say that I'm playing like the No. 1 in the world at the moment, it's nice to hear, but officially, Lee Westwood is the No. 1 at the moment.
Obviously every week I'm trying to play well enough to become the No. 1 one day, but I think you know, my main goal at the beginning of the season was to win The Race to Dubai, and threw my success, I put myself in a good position to be the one none in the world, but I hope I will have that chance more often in the future, so I don't really want to put myself under pressure this week, the same way I did last week. I don't really want to put myself under pressure; I just want to play and have fun and take care of The Race to Dubai.

Q. You mentioned about last week at Valderrama that you didn't putt well. Well, would you make any changes this week to putt better?
MARTIN KAYMER: No, I hope I play the same way that I played last week, because I gave myself a lot of chances to shoot a good score. I was on the putting green this morning and ready to find out what the problem was last week. That was pretty much the only problem that I had last week that I really didn't make a putt.
But what I said earlier, you have those weeks where it happens. You have to keep playing and keep practising. Hopefully it will be a little bit better this week.

Q. Lee Westwood became world No. 1 without playing any tournaments for the past two or three weeks of The Ryder Cup. What's your comment?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think he played a fantastic last 12, 18 months. He played fantastic golf. And even though he didn't play the last couple of weeks, still, deserved to be No. 1 in the world.

Q. Apparently we see the rise of the players from the European countries and this breaks the dominance of the American players. What do you think of this? What do you think -- do you think this chain will go on?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I think the last couple of years, you see how many Europeans are in the Top-50 in the world, and luckily we could prove it at The Ryder Cup that we would win against the Americans. But I think that we'll be pretty even. A lot of the Americans, they will come through. A lot of Europeans will come through.
I think the next five or ten years, you will see the same five, ten guys fighting against each other a lot of the time. There are a lot of young guys playing well at the moment. I really look forward to playing against the same guys pretty much every week.

Q. In the year 2016, golf will be an official part of the Olympic Games. You are the most young -- you are the youngest player in the top 4, and you are the most competitive contender for the champion in the Olympic Games. Do you have any plans for winning the Olympic Games? Do you have any ambition? And do you think playing the tournaments will be a good preparation for playing the Olympic Games?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think every athlete wants to win a gold medal for their country. And that is one of my biggest goals, of course, as well. Since they announced the golf is going to become an Olympic sport, I hope I can be there in 2016 in Rio. That would be very nice. Because to win majors, to win Ryder Cups, to win World Golf Championships events, yes, it is fantastic, but if you win the gold medal for your country, I think that's very special; and to stand up there and hear your National Anthem with a gold medal, I think that's very special.
And I think the tournaments that we play, of course, they only help, especially with the way we play worldwide, and when we go to Rio de Janeiro in six years, it will hopefully -- and I think it will help me then.

Q. Looking towards the Middle East, to my apologies to everyone who is thinking China right now. You know this tournament and what the sponsor brings. When you go back to Abu Dhabi to defend your title in January, what does having HSBC as a sponsor, how does that change things for the golfers and the golf fans?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I think HSBC since many years is a huge sponsor of golf, a huge supporter of golf, and for us players, it's always nice to go back to Abu Dhabi, especially for me, the last three times I've played there, I won twice. But HSBC together with IMG, I am pretty sure they are going to put a fantastic event together.
I don't know if it can be better than the last few years, because it was always fantastic the way they did it. But I'm sure HSBC the way they are involved in this tournament, the way they handle this event, I think that they can improve it still a little bit.

Q. I don't know so much about golf, but my question is: I can name quite a few number of tennis players, but to me, it feels like golf is an elite sport in China. Do you think that golf is less covered in China compared to other countries in the world, or how do you think you can make your names known better in the world just by get climbing to No. 1 as a champion, or what do you think you would like to get your name known better in China, particularly?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, my goal is to -- I'm a member of The European Tour, but my goal is to play worldwide. When I have the chance to come to Asia, the chance to come to China, I take that opportunity to come here.
And the welcome that I had yesterday in Shanghai from the Chinese people is very nice. So I think it's important that we come more often to China, more often to Asia. Obviously the World Cup, that helped a lot that we played at Mission Hills, the World Cup. And I heard that we play in Hainan Island I think next year, the World Cup. So those things always help.
And to make myself more popular, I think I just have to play well here. Maybe win this week. Yeah, those kind of things.

Q. Is there any difference of playing European Tour or any other international tournaments, and playing in China, and do you think you are the best contender for this week?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think this week, everybody can win. It's a World Golf Championships event. We are all good players. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here. So it will be a very interesting tournament.
By playing in Asia, yes, it is a little bit different. The grass obviously is a little bit different. But I've played here -- well, I came here since five years now, so I kind of like know how it feels and what I can expect.
And I played well here last year. I think I finished sixth or seventh, so hopefully I can improve that a little bit this year. That would be fantastic.

Q. You mentioned about your country, that obviously you would love to be the best player in Europe, as well as in your country. What makes it so much different for a German player on Tour, because you don't see many German players on The European Tour; you and Langer -- what makes it so different for German players on Tour?
MARTIN KAYMER: That's a very good question. I think we have all of the possibilities, all of the opportunities are given to us from the German Golf Federation.
I think the main problem in Germany is that when amateurs, when they play well, or young professionals, when they play well, they are raised up to stars straight away, and then they kind of like lose their head sometimes, or they are too satisfied too early, instead of just keep playing and keep practising until they really get to a stage where they can be really proud of themselves to become on The European Tour or something. I think that's a big problem, that they are too satisfied, or too early satisfied in their career.
But the German golf, I think they do a very good job and they give us all the possibilities to become a good player.

Q. A follow-up question. Golf in Germany is not that strong, popular. Now, you are such a prestigious golfer in the world. Have you ever thought about that one day you can be like Michael Schumacher in Germany that has been a national hero?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, to achieve something what Michael Schumacher did or Boris Becker and Steffi Graf for tennis, it would be awesome. It would be fantastic.
But yeah, through my win, through the major win that I have, or got this year, golf became a little bit more popular already. The interest is more and I hope that I can -- together with other Germans, with other German golfers, maybe with Bernhard Langer together, we can build up something, something like have golf boom in Germany, it would be fantastic.
But I think it will be very difficult to do. But we will not give up, and I just am going to take care of my game. I can try to play well, as good as I can, and hopefully more people, more kids, more teenagers get inspired the way I did from Bernhard Langer a few years ago.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Can you drive as quick as Michael Schumacher?
MARTIN KAYMER: (Smiling) Well, probably when it's just straight, yes. But coming to curves, I would rather leave it, because of the go-kart accidents I had last year.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Good decision.

Q. After such a fantastic year, can you think back to when you started this season? How are you different? How is all of the success helped you be as a golfer, as a person? What's changed from January to now? Obviously you're more confident.
MARTIN KAYMER: Last year when I had a chance to win The Race to Dubai, that give me -- even though I didn't win, but that gave me the belief that I can be the No. 1 in Europe one day and winning straightaway in Abu Dhabi again, it was actually perfect. It's a start of a season like this with that motivation from last year, winning straightaway, played well at the World Golf Championships event in Doral, and then I kind of like struggled a little bit. I was playing well but I couldn't score well. But then through the major win, that gave me finally the belief that I can win any tournament I play.
As a person, I don't really think that I have changed. You know, I practise the same way. I hopefully behave the same way. And I think it can only get better. As long as I keep practising, because that is I think what a lot of players, maybe you want to say maybe do wrong; they are very successful and just kind of like let it go a little bit. But for me, that major should not be the end of my career. I hope that I can win more majors, more tournaments. I think that's important that you keep playing, keep practising.

Q. Because a lot of golfers do struggle if they had had the '09 season that you had, the expectation through the winter; was winning early really important for everything else that has happened this year?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I think it was not all about winning. It was just important that I felt comfortable on the golf course again; that I felt good about my game. That was important for me. And okay, I won, that's even better, but I think it's important that I at least for me important that I start off well, and the Middle East is fantastic for me. I practise in the wintertime in Arizona, going to Abu Dhabi, to Qatar, to Dubai is fantastic. It feels like playing in Arizona.
So, yeah, it's always a good start for me.

Q. From TV or whatever tournaments, we see you not a very emotional golfer. Is that how you act in your normal life?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think you have to ask my friends. But I think if you see Bernhard Langer, he is a little bit the same way. We are very calm people.

Q. Is it a German --
MARTIN KAYMER: Kind of, if you want to say so. It's pretty good for golf if you're a calm person; it helps, if you're playing golf, that you're very, let's say, balanced with yourself.
Once in awhile, I show emotions, but winning tournaments, I have kind of like different emotions but I don't really show it. Of course I am very happy and very satisfied what I achieved. But in the end of the day, it's just a golf tournament I won. And of course, I'm happy, but there are more important things in life than golf.

Q. Well, we look forward to seeing you emotional this week.
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, maybe I will be a little bit more emotional this week, if I play well here and win, that would be nice. Maybe you'll see a bit more fist-pumps.
SCOTT CROCKETT: I can tell you, Martin is a very funny man.
Any more questions before he goes and practises for the Pro-Am? I don't think so. Thank you very much, Martin. Good luck this week.

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