Sounding proud and patriotic, Martin Kaymer reeled off the list of qualities it took for Germany to win the World Cup in Brazil.
"They had so much belief," he said glowingly about his national football team. "They played very brave. The planning was good … they played very patient."
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He’ll need those same things at the British Open as he goes after back-to-back major titles.
Kaymer’s wire-to-wire victory at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 last month came just as the World Cup got in full swing — and deserved more recognition than it got back home. One of the most dominant displays at a major tournament became swallowed up in Germany’s run to the final, where it beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday.
Kaymer said it was "unlucky" that he won on the day before Germany’s first group-stage game against Portugal, with the media "full of the German national team."
At Hoylake this week, he will have the stage all to himself.
Padraig Harrington was the last player to win two straight majors, in 2008, when he followed up a second British Open title with a victory at the PGA Championship the following month.
As Tiger Woods noted Tuesday, the depth of quality in world golf has meant victories are being shared around more than ever but Kaymer has claimed two of the biggest of the year already — the U.S. Open and the Players Championship, described by some as golf’s `fifth major.’
The two years he spent improving his swing and building a better all-round game is paying off, just like the decade-long cycle Germany underwent under coach Joachim Loew to get back to the top of international soccer.
"I know how it is when you have all those expectations on your shoulders and you deliver," said Kaymer, who won the 2010 PGA Championship and reached No. 1 in the world six months later before a big dip in form.
"I was not thinking, `OK, I need to win another major within the next four years to prove to myself that it was not an accident.’ I was more planning long-term. So with myself, I was fine. From the outside there was more pressure and a lot of people didn’t think I was doing the right thing."
Now Kaymer is back at the top of golf with his rebuilt swing, he could be here to stay.
"When you tell us to do something, we get it done, but we not only get it done, we get it done to last for a long time," Kaymer said when asked to define the German character. "I’m making an advertisement for my country, but it’s just the quality of work. It’s permanent. It lasts. And that’s how you want to do certain things on the golf course.
"I changed my swing because it lasts long-term."
Kaymer goes out in a group with Jason Day and Zach Johnson for the first two rounds.