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Kaymer expects respect from Americans

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Martin Kaymer expects to be regarded in a new light by his American opponents when he makes his European Ryder Cup debut on Friday at Celtic Manor.

The German believes his first major victory at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August has significantly increased his standing in world golf.

“Through that win, other players, particularly the Americans, will have more respect for me and that can help me in my first Ryder Cup,” Kaymer said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old German, one of six rookies in the European team, also hopes a series of events over the past two years have prepared him for the intense atmosphere of golf’s biggest team event.

In 2008, he accepted an invitation from then European captain Nick Faldo to attend the Ryder Cup at Valhalla as an observer in the locker room.

Eight weeks ago at Whistling Straits, Kaymer discovered his game was good enough to win a major, and three weeks later, he produced a four-shot win at the Dutch Open.

“The experience of going to Valhalla has helped me already this week,” Kaymer said. “When I came here, I knew what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of media. A lot of things are planned. Everything is very organized. There is not a lot of time for yourself that you can sit down and relax and think about a few things.

“So those things, just the organization of things, have helped me already. Playing wise, of course, I don’t know yet. It’s my first Ryder Cup, so I don’t know how it feels on Friday morning. But the things that happened on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, they helped me already.”

Kaymer said his win at the Dutch Open reinforced his self belief that he can cope with the Ryder Cup.

“There was so much expectation on me there playing a major winner for the first time,” he said. “I gained a lot of experience from the way I handled it. To win again was proof to me that I belong in the Ryder Cup.”

In practice on Wednesday, as he and Luke Donald took on the two Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, Kaymer proved just how relaxed he is this week.

He happily complied with a request from his caddie Craig Connolly that he play his first tee shot wearing a wig of a shocking mop of black hair, mimicking McIlroy's trademark hairstyle.