Lack of passion in German TV commentary hurt Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer
LOVE was in the air at St Andrews yesterday. Most of it was for Martin Kaymer, the man who kept the Ryder Cup on this side of the Atlantic for another two years.
Holing his six-foot putt on the last green at Medinah to beat Steve Stricker has turned the German into a hero on the European Tour. He just wishes that his role in helping Jose Maria Olazabal’s side match the biggest last-day comeback in the Ryder Cup had been expressed with a bit more passion in his homeland.
On the eve of the Dunhill Links Championship, the same event he won two years ago right after he’d also been on a winning side in the intercontinental contest in Wales, Kaymer revealed his joy at watching re-runs of his 18th-hole heroics in Chicago had been tempered by the commentary on Sky Sport Germany, a pay-per-view channel. While Ewen Murray and his colleagues struggled to contain themselves on the British equivalent as the Medinah Miracle was being pulled off, their German counterparts appeared to lack any sort of excitement whatsoever.
It didn’t seem to matter that Kaymer was on the verge of earning a place in Ryder Cup folklore, joining the likes of Sam Torrance, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie and Graeme McDowell as players who had either won or retained the little gold trophy for Europe. According to Kaymer, the commentary didn’t do the occasion justice. Even allowing for German nature to be quiet and reserved, the former USPGA champion found that unacceptable.
“I’ve maybe watched [the last-hole putt] four or five times and it makes you feel happy as it’s a great party on the green,” said Kaymer. “But I was very disapointed when I watched the last two or three holes on the German TV channel and heard the way the commentators were talking about it.” He repeated the commentary himself and described it as “flat”. It has left Kaymer, only the second German to play in the event after Bernhard Langer, bemused.
“It is very difficult to understand,” added the 27-year-old. “We had something so big happening and some people don’t get into it, that is very sad. I couldn’t believe it. I find it ridiculous. I was close to calling them and saying, ‘what’s going on?’ You saw me being excited so when are you going to get excited?’” Kaymer felt a “special chance” had been missed to help the game grow in Germany.
His disappointment about that is part of the reason he revealed he wouldn’t necessarily be asking George O’Grady, the European Tour chief executive, if he could take the Ryder Cup on a tour of golf clubs in Germany.
Just as significant, as far as that decision is concerned, however, is that Kaymer is a reluctant hero. He was part of a special team effort at Medinah. In fact, if anyone should be singled out, he reckons it should be Ian Poulter.
“Everybody loves me now, so it’s quite a nice feeling,” admitted Kaymer. “But it was such a fine line between being the hero or the biggest idiot. Fortunately for me, it went the right way. I had the pleasure of making the last putt but, at the end of the day, I only got one point. There were other guys that inspired the team more than me on Sunday. For instance, what Ian Poulter did on Saturday afternoon is very difficult to put into words.”
Poulter finished with five birdies to earn Europe a crucial fourball point and Kaymer added: “I believe he deserves a lot more credit than anyone else on the team.”
The German admits he felt “a lot of pressure”, not just over his crucial putt but long before that, from the moment he could see his match was going to be one of the pivotal ones. “The night before, when I heard I was the 11th player, I thought that it could come down to me, so I was alert to the situation”. He praised Olazabal for his “simple” words. “The things he says mean something,” he said.
Recalling the finish to his match, Kaymer also praised his Scottish caddie, Craig Connolly. He’d been the calming influence as the player found himself on a “mission”, feeling as though he needed to hole his long birdie putt when it always seemed as though a par would get the job done. “He’s a very funny guy and to bring a little humour and coolness in that situation helped me a lot,” he said.
Kaymer said he’d also been relieved to be told by his brother, Philip, that he hadn’t made a fool of himself after holing the par putt. “When we hugged, after Tiger [Woods] and Francesco [Molinari] finished, I said, ‘how did I look on TV? Did I look ridiculous?’ I was in a complete new zone. I have never reacted like that before. He said it had been fine but also that, if it had looked ridiculous, it would have been a good thing because it’s natural. It’s a true feeling.”
His feelings about playing at Medinah had been called into question when, lying in the last of the ten automatic spots, he decided to miss the final counting event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles at the end of August. His game had gone badly off the boil and rumours circulated that he was close to telling Olazabal that he didn’t want to be on the team. Pouring cold water on that, he said: “He [Olazabal] asked me two questions: are you motivated and are you ready? I said ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ and that was enough for him.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 10 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east