KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Germany's Martin Kaymer has happy memories to feed off on his return to Whistling Straits for this week's PGA Championship where he looks to replicate the solid form he produced earlier this season.
The 30-year-old from Dusseldorf, who clinched his first major title when the PGA Championship was last played here in 2010, has missed four cuts in his last eight PGA Tour starts but feels his game is clicking into shape.
"The beginning of the season was fine, but my preparation was all about the Masters," Kaymer told reporters on Wednesday on the eve of the season's final major.
"And I did so much, probably way too much practice, too much in the gym, too much focus on only one tournament and then didn't perform the way I wanted because I was going into the Masters a little bit tired already from that much practice."
Kaymer, who landed his second major title at last year's U.S. Open, missed the cut at the Masters in April after scores of 76 and 75.
"It was just very, very frustrating," said Kaymer. "It took me probably five, six weeks to get over it ... to be OK with it. But the last few weeks I played really good golf. The score didn't really reflect it, but sooner or later it will."
Five years ago, Kaymer won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits after a playoff with Bubba Watson and knows as well as anyone how important it is to limit the damage on an ultra-long, links-style layout studded with bunkers.
"In 2010 I didn't make many mistakes, I really avoided the big numbers," said Kaymer, who has just one top-10 in 11 starts on the 2014-15 PGA Tour, a tie for sixth at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November.
"If you miss the fairways once in a while, you have to accept that that bogey is not a bad score. It's very easy to make double bogey or even worse ... in those bunkers, you can have some very strange lies, a strange stance in there.
"Obviously, you need a low round in order to compete, but you just need to wait for that low round. If it comes, great. If it doesn't come, then maybe it wasn't your week."
Kaymer will play with former winners Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007) and Keegan Bradley (2011) in Thursday's opening round.
Editing by Larry Fine