LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer has added his name to a growing list calling for Europe captain Paul McGinley to consider 56-year-old Bernhard Langer as one of his three Ryder Cup wildcard choices.
Former skippers Colin Montgomerie and Tony Jacklin have already outlined their support for the German veteran while McGinley’s opposite number, Tom Watson, also said last week’s runaway Senior British Open champion “might be worth a pick”.
Langer, who romped to a 13-shot victory at Royal Porthcawl in Wales on Sunday, would become the oldest player in Ryder Cup history if he featured in the team that will meet the United States in Scotland in September.
American Ray Floyd holds that distinction after appearing in the 1993 edition at the age of 51.
“I hope Paul was watching what Bernhard did in the Senior British Open,” Kaymer told Reuters in a telephone interview from Akron, Ohio where he is warming up for next week’s U.S. PGA Championship by competing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
”Shooting 18-under-par for four rounds at a difficult links course like Porthcawl is an outstanding effort under any circumstances whether it is a senior tournament or a regular tour event.
“Don’t forget either what Bernhard did by finishing eighth in this year’s U.S. Masters at Augusta.”
Kaymer, who prompted wild scenes of jubilation when he holed the putt that made sure Europe retained the trophy in Illinois two years ago, said he would love the chance to play alongside his fellow German at Gleneagles in September.
“Bernhard is a special player and it would be great to be able to partner him,” said the twice major winner.
“He has done so much for German golf and for European golf and he would not let the team down if Paul picked him to play against the Americans,” added Kaymer, who won the Players Championship in Florida in May before landing the U.S. Open title in North Carolina a month later.
Langer, who turns 57 on August 27, also won the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh in June and finished in the top-10 in the other three over-50 majors.
Twice former U.S. Masters champion Langer has been a dominant force on the over-50s circuit and achieved a notable double in 2010 when he won back-to-back senior majors in Britain and the U.S.
“Bernhard and I have a good relationship,” said the 29-year-old Kaymer, who is an international brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, official vehicle of the U.S. PGA Championship.
“We regularly exchange text messages and phone calls and he has always been so supportive of me throughout my career,” said Kaymer, who opened with a disappointing seven-over-par 77 in Akron on Thursday.
The calm, phlegmatic German is normally the epitome of cool on the golf course but that all went out of the window at the Medinah Country Club when he leapt around like a schoolboy after holing a six-foot putt to retain the Ryder Cup for Europe.
”That was an unforgettable moment,“ said 2010 U.S. PGA champion Kaymer. ”What happened at Medinah was huge for me.
”To make something that big happen for yourself, your country and your continent is a huge achievement. If you know you can make those things happen, it doesn’t get any bigger.
“There is no goal in my life where there will be more pressure or more excitement than at Medinah where I had that six-footer,” added Kaymer, who is almost certain to claim one of the nine automatic spots in Europe’s 12-man team at Gleneagles.
“After that experience I never want to miss another Ryder Cup in my career.”
Editing by John O'Brien