LONDON (Reuters) - Not many top-notch golfers could see anything positive in squandering a 10-stroke lead midway through the final round of a tournament but world number 12 Martin Kaymer is an exception to the rule.
The double major winner and triple Ryder Cup campaigner was almost lapping the field at the Abu Dhabi Championship in January when, all of a sudden, his golfing wheels came off.
Kaymer frittered away shot after shot and was overtaken by Gary Stal as the unheralded Frenchman produced one of the shock results of recent European Tour seasons.
“It would be wrong to forget about that because you have to remind yourself what happened and ask yourself the right questions as to why it happened,” the 30-year-old German told Reuters in a telephone interview.
”I reflected on it after the tournament when I spoke to a couple of my friends, my brother and my dad. It’s something you have to learn from.
“The people in my inner circle asked some uncomfortable questions so I had to be honest with myself and confront the truth about what really happened and I did,” said Kaymer.
“I know what the reasons were and I‘m very happy about that because I will never let it happen again.”
Although Kaymer, who showed nerves of steel to sink a six-foot putt that won the Ryder Cup for Europe in 2012, has come to terms with his Middle East meltdown he is keeping quiet about the causes.
“I could tell you what the reasons were but I don’t want to talk about it, I want to keep them to myself,” he said.
”I believe if you talk about it people will make more out of it and maybe make things worse and maybe change things the way they are for me now.
”I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about it because it’s too valuable to me to share it with the public.
“It was another experience to add to my overall professional career,” said Kaymer. “Of course I could’ve picked up a trophy and a bit more money but that experience I gained will last a little bit longer and will help me more in the future.”
The immediate future for Kaymer is built around preparations for the opening major championship of the year, the U.S. Masters at Augusta that starts on April 9.
The 2014 U.S. Open winner is also relishing the thought of going back to two special venues for the British Open in July and the U.S. PGA Championship in August.
“St Andrews, for me, is the most peaceful place in the world to play,” said Kaymer who is a golf brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, a global partner of the U.S. Masters.
”It just makes you feel comfortable as soon as you arrive at the Old Course Hotel and they are playing music on the bagpipes there. It’s pure harmony and peace.
“Since I won the 2010 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship there I have been really wishing that one day I can have the chance to win the British Open there too,” explained Kaymer.
“Winning the Open at St Andrews would be one of the biggest things for me to achieve in my career.”
The Whistling Straits course on the shores of Lake Michigan also holds a deep meaning for Kaymer because that is where he landed his first major title -- the 2010 U.S. PGA Championship.
”That’s like a British course but with good weather,“ he laughed. ”It’s very linksy in style with beautiful scenery.
“That win I had was, at the time, the biggest of my career. It was my first win in America and my first major so it’s a place I have a special bonding with.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar