Kaymer ready for 'different' challenge at Atlanta Athletic Club

Photo by Christine Troyke

Photo by Christine Troyke

JOHNS CREEK -- Martin Kaymer watched an entire video chronicling his PGA Championship win last year at Whistling Straights and almost made it through stone-faced.

It wasn't until the very end that the corner of his mouth drew up just slightly.

It's that resolution that carried him from behind that Sunday to win not only his first major but first PGA Tour event and first in the United States.

And the win is the reason he played a round Monday at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

The defending champion, complete with the tournament's Wanamaker Trophy, appeared at the Johns Creek course as it prepares to host the year's final golf major for the third time.

This is the 93rd PGA Championship and the Atlanta Athletic Club will be just the fifth course to host the annual event three times. Ken Mangum, the director of golf courses and grounds at the Atlanta Athletic Club has more than two months to complete preparation for the course, but the defending champion got his first taste of the Georgia course -- and its accompanying weather.

"It's going to be very different than Whistling Straights, which was like a British golf course with good weather," Kaymer said of the Sheboygan, Wis., course. "I don't think it will be windy at all. It will be hot.

"You have to hit fairways. It's a big advantage if you hit fairways. It's a long golf course but you have to strike the ball well. I like courses like that."

Kaymer liked the course Monday.

He didn't give his score, but playing partner Allen Wronowski, the president of the PGA of America, said it was two or three strokes under par.

"I don't want to scare anybody," Wronowski said. "If you're looking for a chink, I couldn't find one."

Kaymer broke out in more than just the PGA last year. He made the Ryder Cup team, won the Ryder Cup and reached No. 1 status on Europe.

"Those are career goals," the 26-year-old said.

Kaymer was 16 years old the last time the PGA Championship came to the Atlanta Athletic Club, and after the changes to the course, he said he can't see a winning score as low as David Toms' 15-under-par.

"I struggle to see that these days," he said.

Kaymer said he would most likely hit driver off all but a few of the par 4s at the redesigned Highlands Course and did Monday as he attacked the course as aggressively has he could.

"For holes like 16 and 18, I am glad to have the big one in the bag," he said.