The first three days as PLAYERS champ
Here's how Martin Kaymer celebrated his big win ... and why he's teeing it up in Dallas
May 14, 2014
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Raising the crystal trophy as the new PLAYERS champ was the start of Martin Kaymer's unusual three days. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
IRVING, Texas -- This is how Martin Kaymer spent his first three days after winning THE PLAYERS Championship in near-darkness at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday night:
-- After completing all the interviews and other responsibilities that come with winning the PGA TOUR's signature event, Kaymer checked his text messages and, as you might imagine, he received quite a few. One was from fellow German Bernhard Langer. "A nice text," Kaymer said. Another was from European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who was in Jacksonville working the tournament for Sky Sports.
McGinley asked if Kaymer had plans. The German said he didn't. So Kaymer and McGinley and Kaymer's caddie Craig Connelly met at a local bar. They talked about various golf topics, especially this year's Ryder Cup.
Kaymer acknowledged that he doesn't know McGinley that well, so it was nice to spend some time getting acquainted -- especially if Kaymer doesn't make the team on points and needs a Captain's Pick.
Although Kaymer was tired, he appreciated McGinley's efforts to celebrate the victory. He said McGinley told him that he knows "how it is when you win a golf tournament and you come back to your room and it feels lonely because everybody left, and you are actually ready to have a drink at the bar and let it sink in. Not just so much partying but relaxing and talking to someone about it."
Added Kaymer: "It was just really nice. I think we had a good conversation."
And who picked up the tab?
"I did," Kaymer said.
He could afford it -- the check for winning THE PLAYERS was $1.8 million.
-- On Monday, Kaymer was scheduled to fly out of Jacksonville to Dallas-Fort Worth for this week's HP Byron Nelson Championship. He went to the airport. But poor weather in Dallas delayed his plane.
While he was waiting, Kaymer needed to charge his phone. So he found an electrical outlet, plopped on the ground and started checking his messages. Of course, his photo was snapped and found its way on Twitter.
"There were a few people who took their phones and they were kind of like, bending the phone, taking pictures, thinking you don't see it," Kaymer said. "But there is not much you can do and I don't care, you know."
Kaymer's flight was eventually canceled. He could not fly out until Tuesday. Back to the hotel.
-- Kaymer was on a flight Tuesday morning and landed in Texas at noon local time. Tired from having sat at the airport for most of the previous day -- as well as the exhaustion that naturally comes with leading a pressure-packed tournament for all four days, then having to make a 28-1/2 foot putt on the 71st hole and get up-and-down on the 72nd hole to prevent what would have been an epic collapse -- Kaymer had little energy left to practice.
He ended up taking a three-hour nap.
"Not planned, but I was very tired," he said.
-- On Wednesday morning, he got a call from his dad back in Germany, who wanted to tell Martin he had seen him on CNN. The network had aired the photo of Kaymer at the airport charging his cell phone.
The world is a much smaller place with Twitter.
-- At noon, he met the media to discuss his win. One of the topics that came up was why he decided to honor his commitment of playing the HP Byron Nelson instead of withdrawing after such a grueling, physically and emotionally exhausting week.
Making his schedule even more challenging is that he will fly to England for next week's BMW PGA Championship, a key event on the European Tour.
The easy thing would have been to take the week off. But Kaymer never thought twice about backing out.
"I committed to play here and I did well here last year (tie for fifth) and that's why I wanted to come and play," Kaymer said. "It was my plan -- and I usually stick to my plan and my work."
(Kaymer also told a great story about the first time he played golf in the state of Texas. Check out the video below.)
-- At 1:50 p.m., he teed off for his pro-am round off the first tee at the TPC Four Seasons Resort. THE PLAYERS champ was back in his element, back on the golf course. Time to prepare for Thursday's first round, attempt the difficult -- and rare -- feat of winning in consecutive weeks on the PGA TOUR.
The good news? He can sleep in. His tee time, with Jimmy Walker and Brandt Snedeker, is 12:40 p.m. local time (1:30 p.m. ET) on Thursday.
Martin Kaymer recalls first trip to U.S. before HP Byron Nelson