Martin Kaymer: Round Three Interview Room
MIKE TROSTEL: We would like to welcome Martin Kaymer to the medica center, a 2-over 72 today, one eagle, five bogeys and a birdie on the 18th hole, for a 54-hole total of 8-under par, 202, and a five-stroke lead over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton. Martin, rounds ever 65, 65 and 72. Course seemed to play much more difficult today. All things considered, you have to be pretty pleased with your round.
MARTIN KAYMER: Yeah, especially the way I started. I made three bogeys the first six holes. Therefore, I kept it very well together. I didn't play as good as the first two days. Today, what I said earlier to you, I think the USGA, they listened yesterday, unfortunately, and they put the pins in very, very tough positions. I think 18 was the only pin where you could be aggressive. The other flags, if you hit it to 25 feet, it was a good shot. So I didn't see many birdies out there, I guess Erik and Rickie, they saw a few more. But overall, 2-over par, the way I played today was fun.
MIKE TROSTEL: We'll open it right up to questions.
Q. Can you go over what you saw at No. 4 with your tee shot. How important was it to survive there with a bogey? And then take us through No. 5 as well.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, 4, the struggle was I didn't really understand the English that the referee was trying to tell me. So I said to my caddie, you have to take over here, because he speaks better English than me, even though he's Scottish. (Laughter.) So it was an unplayable lie, really. I was hoping for a free drop, but didn't get that one. And then I made a great up-and-down there from 165 yards. If you make double bogey, it's a tough one. It was not a good tee shot, so I didn't deserve to make par or anything, but bogey would have been acceptable. So that was quite nice to save bogey there. Then fortunately, I could make eagle on the par-5. Again, it was not a great tee shot. It was a fairly good lie and I think I good a little lucky with the second shot. Plus the upslope short of the green killed the ball flight a little bit and then I had only four feet to make eagle.
Q. The club and distance on the second on 5?
MARTIN KAYMER: I hit 7-iron, but I had probably 205 or 210 yards.
Q. Were you distracted at all at 15 when somebody yelled out your name while you were standing over that putt? And at 17, when were you worried about the squirrel taking your ball away?
MARTIN KAYMER: At 16? Sorry? Say again.
Q. The squirrel.
MARTIN KAYMER: Oh, the squirrel? I mean, they live here (laughter). We are just distracting their home. On 15, you know, if people drink a couple more beers in that heat, I think things like that happen. So I've played many Majors before, I played the Ryder Cup a few times, so I know that it can get like this.
Q. You said 18 was really the only pin position that you could go aggressive at. Do you expect to have no pin positions to be aggressive with tomorrow?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I mean, it would be nice if they make it difficult again. Because then it really becomes or it's all about ball striking. I enjoy playing those courses a lot more than just a putting competition. Some PGA TOUR events or some European Tour events, it's not so much about accuracy, it's just about distance, getting it close to the hole. So if they make it tough tomorrow, it would be very nice. I didn't see anything like 3-, 4-, 5-under par today. Obviously, there were a couple guys that did it, so they must have played amazing golf. So I hope they put them in tough positions. Not as tough as today. It would be nice if we could have some kind of a chance once in a while. But that is what you get at the U.S. Open. It's okay, you just have to play very well.
Q. How much different does a five-shot lead feel compared to a four-shot lead with that birdie on the 18th?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, as I said earlier, one shot. It's only one shot. If you lead by three, four, five, six, seven shots, at the end of the day, you have to -- the biggest challenge is that you keep going, that you don't try to defend anything. If you try to defend then you change your game plan and you don't swing as free as usual. So that would be the biggest challenge tomorrow. But it will be very interesting. It will be interesting to see how we are after nine holes, because at the end of the day it comes down to the last five, six holes. So it will be nice to see how I will react, if I'm leading by five, six, seven shots, or if I'm down to maybe one or two behind, you know, it's -- everything is still open. Five shots, we could see this morning, I started with three bogeys, so that could be gone quickly.
Q. How much do you think your Ryder Cup experience playing outside of Chicago helped today and maybe will help you tomorrow? It seemed like there were a lot of USA chants and it almost had a bit of a Ryder Cup singles match feel to it.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I mean, you know, we're playing in their country here, so it's quite normal that I don't have as many Germans out there as there are Americans. But I still had some support, which was really nice. It's always difficult to play in different countries and different continents, especially when their players are in the lead or close or in contention. But at the same time, it's a great challenge. Even though what happened on 15, it was a little bit distracting, of course it is, but the only thing you can even think of is like, okay, it happened, you deserved to make that putt and then you try to get back to your focus. It is more challenging than obviously if I were playing in Germany tomorrow, but I've done it before, it's only four or five weeks ago.
Q. On No. 4, when you were in the woods there, were you feeling -- you just had several bogeys in a row and you, were you, did you feel a little bit of despair and how elating was it to get an eagle on the next hole? Was that a turning point for you?
MARTIN KAYMER: I thought I just answered that question earlier.
Q. I'm talking about the way you were feeling. Were you feeling --
MARTIN KAYMER: I made only one bogey before; I made only bogey on 2, which it was a poor tee shot and the second hole played very, very long today. If you make a five there, it's okay. It's acceptable. Then unfortunately, I didn't make that birdie putt on 3. On 4, I deserved to make five. You make a tee shot like this, you shouldn't make four. I didn't deserve six either, so it was fair. So 4 was not right, 6 was not right, so I played the middle, it was good.
Q. How difficult was that second shot into the green on 12 and how well it turned out? Can you talk about that?
MARTIN KAYMER: On 12? Oh, when I pulled the tee shot? It was one of those things that you aim at the middle of the green and you hope for something. There's not much there you can judge. You can't -- it could come out 120 yards left or 120 yards long and to the left or to the right or straight, anything could have happened there. So the only thing you do is try to get a fairly solid contact, if possible. And fortunately I could place it on the green and I had 30, 35 feet to make birdie. But if I would have been on the fairway, if I had placed the ball on the green, I would have been happy, too. So it was one of those things you just hit and hope.
Q. On a day when the course setup is difficult and you have those three early bogeys, how do you keep your self together mentally to make sure that it doesn't get out of control for you?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I knew what I did wrong. I missed the tee shots. So I didn't make any mental mistakes or any strategy mistakes, it was just poor golf shots. I think even obviously after the first two days, for me, it's okay to hit some poor shots as well once in a while, so it was acceptable. It was okay. You can't play every day great golf. Usually you have one of those poor days at one stage during a tournament, but the important thing is that you keep that poor day still okay. And that is what I did. Hopefully I will hit a few more fairways tomorrow.
Q. Do you still have the great connection with Bernhard Langer before Major tournaments? Did he call you before the tournament? Did you exchange texts?
MARTIN KAYMER: Bernhard has sent me very nice texts on Thursday already, that he's following the golf even though he's not playing this week. I think he's on a family vacation. So just hearing something from him, obviously it gives you a lot of confidence and it's really nice of him. He doesn't have to do that, but he takes the time to send out a text and it does push me a little bit. I want to achieve similar things that he has achieved in his career. Even though it's very difficult to win at Augusta, to be the Ryder Cup captain, to play the Ryder Cup a few times, but it's nice if somebody is trying to help and he's obviously always there. If I need something, if I struggle with certain things, I can always call him. So he's quite a very nice man.
Q. Is there a time in your career where you had a big lead going in into the final round? And if so, what happened and what did you learn from that past experience?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, in my professional career, I can't remember that I -- I think I was leading by six shots in 2008, playing the BMW Open in Germany. So that was a tough tournament in many ways. It was my -- I was only on TOUR for a year and a half and then all of a sudden everybody expects you to win the golf tournament. Obviously, there was a lot of support and I didn't really want to disappoint the people. My lead was gone after 11 holes. So then the support of the people really helped and I could fight back a little bit, I could get into the playoff and birdied the first hole to win the golf tournament. So that was pretty much the only time where I had a lead by four or five or six shots.
Q. I understand you've been using the tennis ball as a tool, as a training tool for awhile, but given how well you've been playing lately, are you half expecting to see other players show up with it on the range or what kind of -- are they talking to you more about it?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, it's funny that some players tried it and they struggled a little bit to keep the ball. It's not that easy, the way it looks. But it did help me. If it helps others, fair enough. But it's not that easy to build. My coach is a very good engineer, so he has this little factory on this golf course and sometimes he shows up with those things. Fortunately, it works out quite well for me.
Q. The other day you said that in March and April you stopped working on technique, I was wondering if you could explain exactly what stopping working on technique means and what that process was like.
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I watched "Bagger Vance" yesterday, and he said, "At the end of the day we're playing a game." And that is what we're doing. We can't control a lot of things that happen on the golf course. You have to play the game. And if you try to control your swing, if you try to control everything, which is a little bit the way I am as a person, I like to be in control of things. It's the way I think a lot of Germans are. But at the end of the day, you have to feel on the golf course. You have to create that feel and trust your skill and all the work. And today when I was standing on 18, that's a tough tee shot. There's pretty much no fairway. It's very difficult to see any fairway from the back tee. So you stand there and for me it was such an enjoyable shot, because I knew exactly where I wanted to aim and I thought, what a great position this is now. You are 7-under par at the U.S. Open, playing your third round. It's the final hole, it would be nice to finish it off with a birdie. If I hit the fairway, it's a tougher shot. But if you can pull it off, you gain some confidence. So it was a very, very nice thing. And it's about that feel, that touch, that you play with your heart, that you can't control too many things and that's what I was trying to do the last three years. Now I just play.
MIKE TROSTEL: All right. Martin Kaymer, 8-under, 202 through three rounds. Good luck tomorrow.
MARTIN KAYMER: Thank you.
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