US Open 2015: Martin Kaymer on his 2014 dominanceJune, 2015
Kaymer blew away the field in 2014 by eight shots. He recalls how he did it
Winning one Major is good, but winning two is even better! It means a lot more in your career and I’m very proud of it. It’s also a big honour coming to Chambers Bay as the defending US Open champion.
Before the tournament started a reporter asked me what score I thought would be needed to win – I said something like four or five over par would have a good chance. I came to Pinehurst with good form, but I didn’t expect that this would happen.
If you lead by five shots, it’s not easy. A lot of people think, well, you have a little bit of a cushion, but if you approach that day in that way, with that attitude, it can be gone so quickly.
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For me the challenge was to keep going, stay aggressive, make birdies, go for some flags, and don’t hold back.
And it’s very difficult to do, because at some stage you get a little bit tight and your body tells you, you know, you should take it easy. I overcame that feeling, I stayed aggressive, and I played very brave. So I’m very proud of that.
I knew that it was going be a difficult course for all of us. You just have to see it as a challenge and enter the tournament with a positive mental attitude. Of course you will make bogeys but then when you make a couple of birdies it gives you even more satisfaction.
The greens were very, very pure and I felt comfortable right from the beginning. I even had some sneaky three or four-footers but I converted those too and gained a lot of confidence.
It’s never easy playing with a big lead because you’re starting to think about so many things I was very satisfied with my putting throughout the week. I think I putted every time I missed a green, and I kept hitting them within 10 feet. I just felt very comfortable with those length putts, so I barely made a bogey.
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I really played well, especially the first two days, but still I always had in mind that other players might catch me if I lost my focus. If you have two or three Americans like Rickie Fowler or Erik Compton chasing you, playing in America, it’s never easy.
It’s never easy playing with a big lead because you’re starting to think about so many things. But this is human.
The challenge was not to think too much about that trophy. I went for sushi together with my brother four or five evenings that week. But it had nothing to do with superstition. I just like to eat Sushi in the evening. It’s nothing heavy, very healthy and helps to make me sleep easily.
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Rickie is a very nice guy and it was great playing with him. He doesn’t make many mistakes mentally or strategy-wise. On 16 I hit two good shots and I made five. And he hit one shocking shot and two good ones and he made four. I’m very happy for him and his big win at the Players.
Every day I would do a drill with a tennis ball on the driving range. The idea is to hold the ball between the forearms and to keep it there until just before impact. By correct performance, the ball will fall out from your arms as you deliver the club down to strike the ball. It helps improve your backswing so that you keep your arms consistently together.
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My irons were very solid. I didn’t hit many bad iron shots. Of course, you hit a couple off line here and there, but I didn’t make many mistakes. I hit a 2 iron into 16 because I played it fairly defensive, I played it smart.
I didn’t want to put myself in any bad position. And that 2 iron was a great high draw. With a 2 iron it’s not that easy, but I did it. And those things do gain you, subconsciously, a lot of confidence.
I said to Craig (Connelly) on the Sunday morning that the day would be very, very difficult, probably the toughest round we ever played because of all the expectations. I’m sure Craig had those expectations too.
With him being so relaxed and so positive and open and me being more focused and very strict on things, it was a good combination. And that is what I needed.
We won the US Open as a team. He deserves a lot of credit, because he is not only a very good caddy, but also a great person.
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