Kaymer held a one-stroke lead at the TPC Sawgrass when his tee
shot on 17 narrowly cleared the water, bounced off a mound and span
sideways hard until settling just a couple of feet short of the
water on the fringe of the green.
From there, Kaymer, looking for first victory since the Nedbank Golf
Challenge in South Africa at the end of 2012, hit a poor chip and
was left with a 28-foot putt which had to negotiate a ridge with a
sharp left-to-right break.
Somehow he managed to coax the ball into the cup in fading light
before going on to par the final hole and clinch victory by one shot
over American Jim Furyk in the $10 million PGA Tour event.
"What a putt on 17," Kaymer told reporters with a broad grin after
closing with a one-under-par 71 for a 13-under total of 275. "It was
very, very tough to read because it was already very dark. But I
don't care anymore, it went in.
"It was downhill, down-grain, but at the end of the day, you just
trust your instinct. You pick a line approximately there and there.
It was three-and-a-half feet (of break), left-to-right putt, but you
need the right line and the right speed.
"So there's always some luck involved, but it was a good putt. I
don't care anymore, it went in. It's all good."
Kaymer felt that he was unfortunate with his tee shot on 17 after
finding that he was in between a pitching wedge and a gap wedge for
the ideal yardage.
"Under those circumstances, you take the shorter one and I put a
solid swing on it," said the 29-year-old. "I thought I did, but it
was, I think, a yard short. I was very surprised that it was not
even on the green.
"It was a very awkward chip from that Bermuda grass, close to the
water. Yeah, it was a very strange way to make a three."
Kaymer sank a nerve-jangling six-foot putt at Medinah in 2012 to
ensure that the Ryder Cup remained in European hands, and he was
reminded of that achievement by the monster par putt on Sunday.
[to top of second column]
"Making a putt like this is more than big, I think I will realize it
the next few days," he said. "Making those putts in those situations
is quite impressive, you know.
"It gives me a lot of belief and a lot of confidence that I can make
those putts. I've done it in the past, and today again, it's a great
Kaymer's only other victory on the PGA Tour came at a major when he
won the 2010 PGA Championship in a playoff. He ranked his Players
triumph on Sunday not far behind.
"It is probably the biggest tournament we play all year, except the
majors," he said of the Players, which is widely regarded as the
unofficial fifth major.
"It's the biggest (strongest) field. It's a tough golf course, a
very tough week, and very difficult to beat all of those guys.
Pressure-wise I can compare it to the PGA Championship, the playoff
that I played.
"It means that you have done very well for four days, played very
consistent golf. And I played very patient and so it's a big, big
trophy and a big achievement for me."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.