If a British tabloid is to be believed, Martin Kaymer is giving serious consideration to declining an opportunity to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup next month.
The German former world No. 1 qualified for Jose Maria Olazabal's team on Sunday, taking the last of 10 automatic qualifying spots when Nicolas Colsaerts did not finish in the top two and earn enough points to pass Kaymer.
Kaymer, according to The Sun, may have wanted the Belgian to pass him so as to avoid putting Olazabal in a pickle and his soured game on display at Medinah.
According to one European Tour player, and that's not saying much, “The word on the range is that Martin is seriously considering whether he will be able to do himself justice. There was a feeling he would not have minded being overtaken by Nicolas, because at least it would have taken the decision out of his hands.”
The 2010 PGA champion did not play at Gleneagles and, not being a member of the PGA Tour, was ineligible to compete in The Barclays at Bethpage Black. His acquiescence to Colsaerts' chances to nab a spot may have fueled the rumors which can only stand to grow.
Kaymer's agent tried to head off any such reasoning before the Johnnie Walker Championship.
“Martin’s been in a bit of a slump as we all know, but he is comfortable with where he is heading and he wants to be at the Ryder Cup,” Kaymer’s manager Johan Elliot said. “There’s no doubt about that.
Kaymer has three top-10 finishes on the European Tour this season, but has not logged one since the Malaysian Open in April. He has missed the cut in three of his last six starts, including the Open Championship and PGA Championship.
Were Kaymer to deny himself a place on the team, he would follow in the footsteps of Sandy Lyle. Despite winning the 1988 Masters and being hand-picked by captain Tony Jacklin, Lyle declined to play on the '89 Ryder Cup team because he said he was not playing well enough to help the team.
"The mental scars of missing so many cuts are just too much to bear," Lyle said almost 23 years ago to the day. "It's not so bad when you're playing for yourself, but when you're playing for a team that needs you, it's something else."
To that point in the season, Lyle had made five cuts in seven starts, finishing no better than T-10 at the Scottish Open. He finished the year with a flurry, however, notching top-10 finishes in three of his last five starts.