PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Martin Kaymer tried to stay relatively low key after winning his first major title but after a runaway victory at the U.S. Open on Sunday will use his second to help promote golf in his homeland.
Not a natural extrovert, Kaymer, who also won the 2010 PGA Championship, now understands that being a major champion gives him a platform not available to those of lesser stature.
“At the beginning, it was just too much for me and I just wanted to stay a little bit for myself and reflect on certain things first,” he told reporters.
“I couldn’t handle a lot of things that happened in Germany, all the attention.
“And then becoming number one in the world (in 2011), that added another thing.
“It was, to be completely honest, it was very difficult to handle.”
Kaymer’s next tournament will be the BMW International Open in two weeks and he plans to bask in the glory, rather than try to shy from the limelight.
“Now it’s a time where you can make golf bigger in Germany, he added. “There’s a lot of big things that can happen the next few years.
“My next tournament will be in Cologne, where I live, so I will make sure to take that trophy with me and promote golf even more, because its not exhausting for me anymore.”
Kaymer’s second grand slam win ties him with compatriot Bernhard Langer, who won two Masters titles and has long offered the younger man support, and Kaymer joked that between them, only the British Open is missing from a grand slam.
“We almost have the German grand slam,” he joked. “It’s just nice to have him there, always whenever I need him.
“We were texting a little bit the last three or four days (and) his wife, she was texting me last night, so they’re very caring people and it’s nice to have those people around you and to have such a big role model coming from your country, that you can always reach out to.”
Kaymer had to overcome some gallery antipathy on Sunday, including a few spectators who cheered and clapped whenever he hit a bad shot or missed a putt, but he professed not to hear them.
“It’s never easy being a foreigner but fans were very fair,” he said.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury