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May 3, 2011

Martin Kaymer


MARK STEVENS: We'd like to welcome Martin Kaymer. Your only other start at the Wells Fargo Championship was in '09. You finished T11. You want to talk about your return here and your thoughts on the week.
MARTIN KAYMER: Actually I wanted to come back last year, but for some reason I didn't, so that's why -- it was two years ago when I came here, I played well, as you said. I really liked the golf course. It was a good preparation I thought for the Sawgrass week. I think it's a way underrated golf course. It's one of the best we play on the PGA TOUR, so there was no reason why I shouldn't come back.

Q. What have you been doing?
MARTIN KAYMER: The last two weeks? Well, I was -- after Augusta I went to Malaysia, a little bit of a trip, and then after that I went back to Germany for a week, practiced with my coach for three, four days, stayed a little bit longer than I thought because my brother's birthday was on Saturday two weeks ago, so I wanted to stay there. And then I went back to Scottsdale last week, spent some time there with some friends and practiced, and yeah, got in last night.

Q. Being off for two weeks, can you talk about the importance of taking some time off - I know Graeme McDowell is taking this week off - getting into the hectic part of the season.
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, especially after the Masters when I went to Malaysia. Masters is always a tough week. There's a lot going on there. But then going to Asia with the time difference, I was very tired after that. I just felt like I needed some time to spend with my coach again. I would like to get my swing going again. We've been changing a few things now in the last months now. Nothing major, just the backswing, to get a little bit closer on plane, shorten it a little bit.
So that will take a little bit. It was important to see my coach in order to get that going, to have somebody who kind of like has a look at it all the time that I don't make any other mistakes. And he's coming to Spain in two weeks, as well, so we can continue working on the swing. So it was very important for me to see him again and to keep on continuing working on just some swing thoughts that I had. So that's why pretty much -- that was the main reason why I took two weeks off, because I was not 100 percent happy about my swing.

Q. Are you more likely to play Malaysia next year or the Masters?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think both.

Q. You didn't mind the travel after --
MARTIN KAYMER: We just had a really bad connection. When we flew from New York to Dubai we had a layover for seven hours, and that was pretty much the killer. If we can plan it a little different next year, then there's no problem.
It's a good golf course. In the end it was a great tournament. It was fun to go. You can just see how much fun the people had there. It was a little bit different than Europe and America. They were running around like kids sometimes, like dolls. They were so happy to see us there and to see us playing, so it was nice.

Q. Can you talk about your time at No. 1? Did you like being up there? Did you like the spotlight? Did it change the way you had to approach tournaments or anything like that?
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, you get a little bit more attention. Obviously people were looking at my score a little bit closer. But besides that, yeah, I enjoyed that time. At the moment anything can happen. Every week you have four or five guys up there. Anything can happen week to week, can change, and I think that is a great thing what we have in golf at the moment. Next week it can be an American player up there, then the other week it can be a European player up there again. So for me it was -- of course it is enjoyable to have that challenge every week, and if I become the No. 1 soon again, I wouldn't mind it. It's a nice spot to be in. But at the end of the day, it doesn't really change a lot.

Q. On Sunday the penalizing stroke when the ball moved --
MARTIN KAYMER: I saw it when I was watching Bubba.

Q. And the USGA said yesterday they've been taking a look at Rule 18-2(b). Has that ever happened to you?
MARTIN KAYMER: No, it never happened to me. I got lucky, but I think it's a very -- it's a borderline rule. I mean, you haven't really done anything wrong. It's just very unlucky, and to get penalized like that, and obviously he lost the tournament because of this, it's tough. I don't think that he has won already, did he, on the PGA TOUR? So it's a tough one, and I think -- obviously I hope it doesn't affect him because he has prayed great golf recently, but it's a strange rule, yeah.

Q. Are there any other strange rules you can't stand?
MARTIN KAYMER: I mean, not right now, but I'm sure there are a few that I've thought about already. I think, for example, the same at the British Open, for example; when you try to -- on the green when it's so windy when you try to address the ball with your putter and then the ball moves, you know, yeah, it is a penalty if you really address the ball, but it's just -- it's not really your fault when the wind blows it away. It's not really your fault, so what can you really do? But on the other hand, I think that it's part of the game, as well. There must be some rules.

Q. We're going to talk to Rory in a few minutes. You won your major at Whistling Straits not playing in the final group on Sunday. How much pressure is there trying to win your first major at a young age being in the final group with the spotlight on you?
MARTIN KAYMER: That's a good question. I think -- I talked to Rory about it in Malaysia, as well, and I think for me the biggest advantage was that I didn't have to sleep over it, I didn't have to listen to you guys on The Golf Channel Saturday night about how big it would be and all the pressure that you will approach the next day. I didn't have to deal with that.
You know, he's only 21 years old, and what people, I think, it's easy for people to forget, as well, he's so young and the stuff that he did, the way he plays golf, it's been unbelievable. Yeah, he didn't play well the last round, but that happens. He will win plenty of tournaments, maybe a few majors, but that was probably the biggest difference, that I didn't have to deal with that at the PGA.

Q. What's the biggest setback you've ever had on the golf course?

Q. Disappointment.
MARTIN KAYMER: My first tournament that I was leading on the European Tour I finished with a double bogey and lost the tournament by one, that was pretty bad. But the toughest challenge that I ever had was probably when I won in Germany in 2008 when I was leading by five or six shots and then after 11 holes I was one shot behind. Obviously you played fantastic golf in order to get to the position to lead by five shots, or six, I can't remember, and then all of a sudden you see yourself playing so bad, just -- you wonder why, what is the reason? How is it possible that you play great golf three days on the same golf course? What is different today?
And I was a little bit disappointed in myself why I -- I don't know if I approached that day different or maybe I thought already I have won. But it helped me a lot for the last two, three years that I know it doesn't really matter by how many shots you lead, and it helped me this year in Abu Dhabi when I was leading by four or five shots, and in the end I won by seven or eight, I think. So you know, it's always a learning thing. It doesn't matter what you do, if you screw up a tournament or if you win a tournament, and I'm sure if Rory has some good people around him, then he will figure out what the reason was and he will learn from it, and he will handle the next Masters or the next major when he's leading again a little bit better.

Q. What was that tournament where you made double on the last hole?
MARTIN KAYMER: Scandinavian Masters.

Q. How long did it take you to recover?
MARTIN KAYMER: A week. I finished well the next week again.

Q. What was the tournament in Germany?

Q. What year was that?

Q. What else did you see out of Rory in Malaysia just in terms of his mood?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think it's always -- it doesn't really matter who it is, but when you come from the Masters you play the next week, you play different golf. You play -- you can play more aggressive. My caddie and me, we had a different attitude, as well. We could go for any flag pretty much because the up-and-downs seemed fairly easy compared to Augusta. And I think Rory, the way he played golf, I played with him the first two days, he didn't play fantastic, he played okay, but he made a lot of putts, and he was playing very consistent.
Obviously it was tough to explain what happened to him on Sunday, but what I said earlier, he's 21 years old. He's not out here since 15, 20 years, like Tiger, for example, but it was just nice to see that he was playing well. I think he finished second or third. He could have won the tournament. So at the end of the day that is important, that he kept playing good golf.

Q. How does this golf course fit your eye here at Quail Hollow?
MARTIN KAYMER: I think it's -- overall what I said, it's a way underrated golf course. For me it's one of the best. I like a lot of tee shots when I'm standing on the tee. You have to cut the ball a lot here, which is nice for me, and obviously it's a beautiful place. It's not only good golf holes, it's just nice to walk, as well. When I came here two years ago, I heard that -- I think they're going to get like a major here, PGA or U.S. Open, when is that, 2000 --

Q. '17.
MARTIN KAYMER: I was happy. I was glad about it. It's a good golf course, and to have a major, it's fantastic.

Q. As a German who is not a member of the PGA TOUR, where do you rank next week? Where do you rank THE PLAYERS Championship?
MARTIN KAYMER: For me for sure it is one of the majors because of the World Ranking points. But besides that, it's just a big tournament.

Q. Would you rather -- if you had your choice, and again, as a European Tour member only, would you rather win a World Golf Championship or THE PLAYERS if you had to pick one?
MARTIN KAYMER: The World Golf Championships, and preferably the one at Firestone because it's a fantastic golf course and a beautiful place. Yeah, obviously to play well at the others would be nice, but I think I would prefer the World Golf Championship event, to win that one, yeah.

Q. Because?
MARTIN KAYMER: Because, I mean, it's just a very elite field. It's a small field of great players, and you can call yourself a world champion.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Martin. Good luck this week.

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