'Now I honestly feel my whole career might have been on the line,' the former PGA champion told Reuters this week.
With Europe in the midst of an improbable comeback from a 10-6 final-day deficit, Kaymer found himself with a 6-foot putt on the final hole to win his match with Steve Stricker – and guarantee that his team would retain the Cup. While a jubilant scene ensued when the putt found the hole, the German now admits to occasionally allowing his thoughts to wander toward what might have been.
'I sometimes think about what would have happened if I had missed it,' he added. 'Would I have had the mental strength to recover from thinking I had let down a whole continent?'
Two years after claiming the Wanamaker Trophy, Kaymer used his experience at Whistling Straits to help calm his nerves at Medinah, but also noted an added element the team competition presented.
'I had a similar putt to win my first major, the U.S. PGA in 2010, but the feeling was completely different,' he explained. 'If I had missed that one it would have been my own fault and I would have moved on to the next major. But letting down so many people? That doesn't bear thinking about.'
For Kaymer, making the putt served to turn his season around, one that went on to include a win shortly thereafter at the Nedbank Golf Challenge – his first victory in over a year.
'Up to that point, (my season) hadn't been good,' he told reporters. 'Then all of a sudden, you feel a lot happier about matters. On paper you'd probably still only give the year a three or four (out of 10), but mentally it had gone up a few marks.'