Germany's Kaymer looks to the past for major PGA motivation

San Francisco (AFP) –


Martin Kaymer had low expectations heading into this week's PGA Championship so he turned to the paramount moment of his career for some much-needed inspiration.

Two-time major winner Kaymer hadn't been playing a lot of golf lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic so the German star re-watched the closing moments of his wire-to-wire, eight-shot victory at the 2014 US Open.

"I like to go back to those moments," Kaymer said after shooting a four-under par 66 in Thursday's opening round at TPC Harding Park.

"I know you shouldn't live in the past, but if the past can help you in the present moment, then I'll take it."

The 35-year-old from Dusseldorf roared home Thursday with an eagle and two pars on his back nine in the opening round of the first major championship of the season.

Kaymer has only played one event since the global pandemic shut down the season in mid-March and that was last week's Barracuda Championship in Truckee, California.

"My expectations were very low, to be honest, because I didn't really know where my game was at," Kaymer said. "Obviously I knew I was playing OK. But I needed something.

"I was going for some dinner yesterday. I was trying to find a place, and on the way home, I didn't feel that good. I was not that happy for some reason. I don't know, sometimes that happens.

"And then I thought I needed to lift my spirit a little bit. And I went on YouTube and I found that video. There's not much to do right now other than hanging out in your hotel room by yourself.

"That helped me to believe that my putting was good enough and that my ball-striking was good enough. Even though it's a few years back, it's always nice to remember those moments and feel the same that you felt that day."

Kaymer, who started his round on the 10th hole, made a bogey on the par-3 11th but got back to level par with a birdie on 14.

He birdied three of four holes starting at 17 and then made eagle on the par-5 fifth hole.

"That eagle was very special," he said. "I pulled off that bullet and it got on to the green, but it was still quite far away, so you're thinking maybe two-putt birdie would be great. Then it went in."

Kaymer says putting was his saving grace and he hopes to keep it going in Friday's second round.

"I was very pleased with my putting," he said. "That really saved the round today."