Given that Bernhard Langer has never been able to live down the key Ryder Cup putt that he missed at Kiawah Island in 1991, it was not surprising how his fellow German Martin Kaymer felt standing over a five foot putt on the 18th green at Medinah on Sunday.
Golfing history will now record that his was his one hole victory over Steve Stricker that clinched the vital point which took Europe to a total of 14, ensuring they would at least draw the match and retain the Cup after winning it at Celtic Manor in 2010.
But Langer's experience, which he later put down to a spikemark on the line of the putt, was very much on Kaymer's mind as he prepared to try and silence the Chicago golf fans and complete Europe's superb comeback from 10-6 down overnight. "It was such a fine line between being the hero and the biggest idiot and fortunately it went the right way," said Kaymer yesterday at St Andrews, as he prepared to return to a far less pressurised form of golf playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with his partner in the pro-am format – manager and close friend Johan Elliott.
"I was standing behind the ball and then when I bent down and saw a footprint, Bernhard's miss crossed my mind for half a second. But it didn't have any influence in a positive or negative way. I saw the footprint, thought Bernhard, okay, gone. But it's in the past – it was 21 years ago.
"And if you stick to the facts it was the easiest putt you can have, even though with all the circumstances. It was uphill and inside the right line. There is no easier putt. We have to make that putt millions of times and I had to try to forget about the Ryder Cup."
Kaymer admitted that since arriving in Scotland he had been surprised at how many people had congratulated him. "Obviously I had the pleasure to make the putt but at the end of the day I only got one point, even though I played twice and there were other guys who inspired the team a lot more on the Sunday," he said.
Another Ryder Cup hero who faced a grilling yesterday was Scot Paul Lawrie, who after his 5&3 hammering of recent FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker is now being mentioned as a potential captain for the next Ryder Cup when it is held on his home soil at Gleneagles in 2014.
But Lawrie admitted that would present him with a difficult dilemma because although he will be 45 by then, he wants to play in Perthshire rather than run the European locker room. "It would be a tough decision to make," he said knowing that the European Tournament Committee could make its decision in January when they meet in Abu Dhabi
"Not many people would knock it back. I would like to think they would look at it and say 'You are 27th or 28th in the world and not be sure that's captaincy-time' and that they would know that I was thinking that I want to be part of that team. If they do offer it to me, which I don't think they will, then that's a huge decision I will have to make."
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