Germany's Martin Kaymer maintained ice-cool composure to win his maiden major title in a gripping two-way playoff with American Bubba Watson for the 92nd U.S. PGA Championship on Sunday.
With American Dustin Johnson having earlier been eliminated from the playoff in stunning fashion after being handed a two-stroke penalty, Kaymer went on to clinch the prized Wanamaker Trophy over three extra holes at Whistling Straits.
"I cannot win anything bigger," Kaymer told reporters after becoming only the second German to land a major title. HIs compatriot Bernhard Langer clinched the U.S. Masters in 1985 and 1993.
"The majors, they are the biggest tournaments we play. It's cool to see my name (on the trophy) next to Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and all those guys."
Kaymer's victory made him the sixth first-time winner in the last seven majors with Phil Mickelson's emotional victory at the U.S. Masters in April the sole exception.
Watson holed a three-foot birdie putt at the first playoff hole, the par-four 10th, but Kaymer immediately responded by sinking a 15-footer to birdie the treacherous 223-yard 17th.
Kaymer then won in the year's final major with a bogey at the par-four 18th after both players found the right rough off the tee.
The long-hitting Watson struck his second shot into a creek guarding the front of the green on the way to a double-bogey six. Kaymer laid up with his second shot and struck his third to 15 feet before two-putting for the title.
After tapping in from less than two feet, the Dusseldorf native removed his cap to acknowledge the crowd.
"I just hope with this win, I can make golf more popular in Germany," Kaymer said after earning a cheque for $1.35 million.
Watson's disappointment at finishing second was swiftly erased when he learned he had qualified for the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the first time. "I made the Ryder Cup, so that's all I care about," said Watson.
Johnson had finished level with Kaymer and Watson after the 72 regulation holes on 11-under-par 277 but was adjudged by officials to have grounded his club in a bunker to the right of the fairway before playing his second shot at the 18th.
Kaymer, who sank a 15-foot par putt at the last for a 70, and Watson, after firing a 68, went into the playoff with each of them seeking a maiden major victory. Phil Mickelson, winner of the 2005 PGA Championship, fired a best-of-the-day 67 to share 12th place at six under, four better than Tiger Woods, who again struggled.
Pavin wants Woods as Ryder Cup pick
Milwaukee: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin hinted that struggling world number one Tiger Woods would be one of his four picks for the team that will take on Europe starting Oct. 1 in Wales.
"Well, he's the No. 1 player in the world," Pavin said when asked about the pros and cons of selecting Woods.