Kaymer: I'm a better player now
Martin Kaymer believes he is a better player now than when he was world number one.
The 29-year-old, who triumphed the Players Championship a fortnight ago, won the US PGA Championship in August 2010 and became world number one for eight weeks the following February, but believes changes to his swing have finally bedded in.
"I can hit any shot that I want to hit, which is important, and I didn't believe that I could do it when I was number one in the world or even when I won the PGA Championship," Kaymer told a pre-tournament press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
"It was very easy for me to play golf, but it was not satisfying. So now I would say I'm a more complete player. But it's very important that we don't put it in the wrong perspective now that I should play well every week.
"Obviously golf is a very difficult sport and a very important word is the expectations that a lot of people have. As a player I know where I can rank my expectations.
"It's just important that others don't always think that we have to deliver every single week. The German national team are going to play the World Cup in a few weeks and when I play with different players every week everyone says, 'Oh yeah, Germany should win'.
"That's a good possibility, but it doesn't mean that we have to win or that you don't keep the expectations low. You can only get disappointed otherwise and there's a lot of pressure that those players have to handle. I think that's what people forget sometimes. It's not that easy."
Kaymer's victory at Sawgrass certainly was not achieved easily, at least after the 90-minute rain delay late in the final round.
The Ryder Cup star looked to be cruising to victory until that point, but double-bogeyed the 15th when play resumed and had to hole from 30 feet for a vital par on the 17th to cling onto a one-shot lead.
However, the manner of his triumph in golf's so-called 'fifth major' might actually work to his advantage in future.
"I'm sure if we would have just kept playing without the break I would have done better, but at the end of the day it worked out great for me," Kaymer added.
"The way I won takes a lot out of yourself, but gives you a belief that you can do it any time. Those (last) three holes, it's just about how much you want it.
"It's not so much about playing good golf or playing bad golf. It's just about the will. You play with your heart and try to bring it home, and it's how much you want to win that tournament."
Kaymer is among a star-studded field at Wentworth, with only Graeme McDowell missing from the victorious Ryder Cup team of 2012 after opting to spend time at home with his pregnant wife.
France's Victor Dubuisson, who looks certain to make his Ryder Cup debut in September, is also absent with a shoulder injury, but Sweden's Jonas Blixt - who was joint second in the Masters last month - will get his first taste of the European Tour's flagship event.
Blixt admits he has few memories of the tournament or the course - "I used to watch more ice hockey than golf," he said - but insists he would consider adding more European Tour events to his schedule if he was close to qualifying for Gleneagles.
"If I'm on the brink of maybe making one of the spots off the money list or the world ranking list, absolutely," said Blixt, who has to play a total of 13 European Tour events to be eligible for the team.
"It's tight when you play two tours. My schedule is pretty much set for the rest of the year. Unless I get hurt or anything like that, I'm planning on playing (my 13 events)."
Defending champion Matteo Manassero was tipped for a Ryder Cup place after his victory 12 months ago, but the Italian admits he would not be disappointed to miss out after struggling to reproduce such form since.
"The 12 guys that are going to make that team deserve to be on that team," the 21-year-old said. "It's not something that I will have thrown away.
"The beginning is always really important. If you can start well then you only need one step to get in. Now it's almost as if I need two steps to get in. It's a little bit harder so if I make it it's going to be a great achievement and I will be extremely happy about it."