By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
After securing the second Major Championship title of his career at the US Open Championship, Martin Kaymer took time to praise the role caddie Craig Connelly played in his wire-to-wire triumph at Pinehurst Resort.
The 29 year old German won a second Major Championship title last Sunday as a final-day 69 secured a dominant eight shot victory in North Carolina, and afterwards Kaymer was effusive in his praise for Scottish bag-man Connelly.
He said: “On Sunday morning I said to my caddie, Craig, that this will be very, very difficult, probably the toughest round we will ever play because of all the expectations that you have on yourself, the expectations other people have.
“I'm sure Craig had the expectations as well, so there were a lot of emotions involved. Overall, I knew that the whole day would be very, very difficult.
“But with him being so relaxed and so positive and open, me being more focused and very strict on things, it was a good combination. And that is what I needed.
“Without Craig, it would have been a lot more difficult.”
Three months after winning the US PGA Championship together in 2010 – a victory which helped propel the Dusseldorf native to Number One in the Official World Golf Ranking – the pair split, but were soon reunited when, as Kaymer admitted, the hugely-likeable Connelly proved impossible to replace.
“I didn’t realise how good Craig was for me until I arranged for him to again caddie for me at Kiawah Island,” Kaymer said during the week of The Players Championship – a tournament he also won in convincing wire-to-wire fashion.
“You get caught up in that serious mindset with everyone so focused on doing their own thing. So with Craig back we’ve had fun.
“It’s very important you have someone you get along with, both on and off the course, as you can be travelling with them three or four weeks in a row.
“Craig hadn’t changed in the time we were apart and I don’t think he ever will.”
Kaymer’s victory in North Carolina was also made doubly sweet by the fact his older brother Philip was present at Pinehurst.
“To sit here now with the US Open trophy is tough for me to describe,” Kaymer continued. “I'm very happy. The way everything worked out and came together; the people who were here this week – my brother finally is here to see me win a golf tournament - it's a very, very nice and very satisfying feeling.”