- Associated Press - Monday, August 16, 2010

SHEBOYGAN, WIS. (AP) - Even with the Wanamaker Trophy at his side, Martin Kaymer could not believe he was a major champion.

Neither could anyone else.

Even after winning the PGA Championship, he had to share the spotlight with hard-luck Dustin Johnson, the victim of a two-stroke penalty on the final hole when he grounded his club in a bunker without realizing he was in a hazard.

It will be hard to mention Whistling Straits without thinking of Johnson, just as Jean Van de Velde and his comical collapse remains such an ingrained part of the history at Carnoustie.

It might take another major for the 25-year-old German to get his due.

Not many would be surprised if he did.

Kaymer was in his second year on the European Tour when he won the Abu Dhabi Championship, then finished birdie-birdie-eagle in Dubai to finish one shot behind Tiger Woods.

“You’ve got to watch this kid play,” Ernie Els said early in 2008. “He’s going to be something, I promise you.”

Consider the promise fulfilled.

Lost in the controversy over what should constitute a bunker at Whistling Straits were the clutch putts Kaymer made in the final round Sunday. First came the 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole in regulation to earn his spot in the playoff. Then came another 15-footer on the par-3 17th, the second of a three-hole playoff to catch up to Bubba Watson.

The end was anticlimactic for everyone but Kaymer.

He rapped in a 2-foot bogey putt to finish one shot ahead of Watson in the playoff, calmly plucked the ball from the cup and had to muster up some emotion to commemorate his first major.

Typical stoicism of a German? Not really.

“If I would have made that par putt in the playoff, I probably would have freaked out,” Kaymer said. “But it was only a little bit more than a foot, 1 1/2 feet, to win it. And when I was walking toward the putt, I just thought I should really think about that feeling, what I have now. I really wanted to enjoy that moment.”

Perhaps there was enough time to think about growing up in Germany, where two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer was the only golfing hero in a soccer-mad country.

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