HIS TEAM-MATES looked on anxiously and captain Jose Maria Olazabal had his eyes tightly shut, but Martin Kaymer has revealed he never had any doubt he would make the putt to retain the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
Kaymer was faced with a seven-foot putt for par to beat Steve Stricker in the penultimate singles match and give Europe the 14th point which would ensure, as holders, they would maintain possession of the trophy.
And despite everything which was on the line, not to mention being so out of form that he had only played once before that week and felt he had let partner Justin Rose down in defeat, Kaymer held his nerve with admirable calm.
“It’s tough to answer because it shouldn’t sound too arrogant, but I never had a doubt in my mind that I would miss the putt,” said Kaymer, who then saw team-mate Francesco Molinari secure a half point against Tiger Woods to give Europe outright victory for the seventh time in the last nine contests.
“It’s one of those things that you cannot miss. It’s difficult to explain. Maybe some athletes would understand.
“I was trying to explain it to a good friend of mine and he had no idea what I was talking about because it’s one of those things that you don’t have a choice of missing.
“It’s not an option so it doesn’t even cross your mind that you might miss it.
“For me everything was so clear. I knew exactly what I needed to do, I knew exactly what the line was.
“The only thing that you need to do is do it. It never really crossed my mind that I might fail.
“It’s quite nice to get to know yourself in a way like this, because I was not afraid of failure. I was not afraid of winning.
“I think a lot of guys - and you see it in different sports, as well - sometimes they are afraid of winning, because it’s a different situation. It can be uncomfortable.”
Kaymer won his first major championship by beating Bubba Watson in a play-off for the 2010 US PGA Championship and six months later became world number one after losing to Luke Donald in the final of the Accenture Match Play Championship.
The 29-year-old held that position for eight weeks but, prompted partly by a fourth straight missed cut in the Masters in April that year, began working on his swing to enable him to hit a draw as well as his usual fade - a process which meant he slid gradually down the world rankings.
By the time of Medinah in September 2012, Kaymer admitted he would not have picked himself for the team but, having clung on to the last automatic qualifying place, he had no choice.
The rest, as they say is history - history which has been shown repeatedly on television in the build-up to Gleneagles.
“It was on TV quite often actually when I was in America recently, so I watched a little bit of that,” Kaymer added. “It wasn’t like I was looking for it.
“It was just on TV quite often and you keep sitting there because it’s a nice moment, you want to see it. It’s just a very, very nice memory that you cannot put into words.
“It was a tough putt to be prepared for because you don’t really know how to prepare for a moment like this. So I was a little bit surprised myself how well I handled the last hour, hour and a half on the golf course.
“You cannot really know how you feel and how your body and how your mind reacts to that difficult situation.
“Standing on the first tee (at Celtic Manor) in 2010, it was very intimidating for me. It was too much.
“I couldn’t really handle the whole situation, playing in the jungle a little bit without having a clear mind, without knowing what you actually have to do now.
“In 2012 I had a very nice conversation with Bernhard Langer and pretty much the moral of the whole talk was at the end of the day, it’s just you, the golf ball and the golf course that you have to play.
“If the people wouldn’t be there, that’s it. It’s pretty simple.
“And then we talked about imagine now if you can use the thousands of people for yourself in a positive way, that they carry you, so there’s nothing negative about it.”