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Kaymer's shoulder feeling better; Club pro excited to be playing with Monty

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Martin Kaymer looked unbeatable earlier this year when he went wire-to-wire (with ties) to win The Players Championship, and then wire-to-wire (no ties) for an eight-shot victory in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

So it was mildly surprising when Kaymer played so poorly in the British Open. He offered more of an explanation than an excuse Tuesday. Kaymer said he was coping with a sore shoulder that kept him from proper practice in the days leading up to the Open.

"Just once in a while, you wake up and you have a little issue here and there," Kaymer said. "The shoulder was quite surprising for me because I couldn't really hit one normal golf shot until Thursday morning at The Open. So the British Open, my practice rounds were very, very limited."

Kaymer said it is no longer an issue.

Last week at Firestone, he didn't make a birdie in the opening round of a 77, then played reasonable the rest of the week.

"But now, everything is fine," he said. "It just came out of nowhere. Like everyone else, once in a while you wake up and you have something, and that happened to me, unfortunately, the week of The Open. But everything's fine. It's just something that you have to deal with when it comes up, but it's nothing major."

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BLOCK PARTY: Michael Block is among the 20 club pros in the PGA Championship, and being the winner of the PGA's Professional National Championship comes with some perks. He has a tee time with a former PGA champion (Shaun Micheel) and the reigning Senior PGA champion (Colin Montgomerie).

"I grew up watching the Golf Channel every morning," said Block, who works at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California. "Right before I'd go to work, I would watch the European Tour. Colin was always just dominating. I have watched Colin play hundreds of rounds of golf on TV, and now to be teeing up with Colin is pretty surreal."

Montgomerie is playing the PGA Championship for the first time since 2010, when he was invited as the Ryder Cup captain.

He hasn't made a cut in the PGA since 2007 at Southern Hills.

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HOMECOMING: J.B. Holmes has been to every major event at Valhalla — twice as a fan, twice as a player.

Holmes grew up in Kentucky, and he was in the gallery when Mark Brooks won the 1996 Championship, and when Tiger Woods won the PGA in 2000. But he didn't stay as long for the second one, and for good reason.

"We watched like the first seven or eight holes, and the crowds got crazy and we drove home and finished watching it on TV," he said.

Holmes felt like a rock star when he played on the 2008 Ryder Cup, smashing tee shots on the range so far they reached the stage for the opening ceremonies. Holmes was unbeaten in his three matches, a rare U.S. victory.

And this year? He already has won on the PGA Tour this year, at Quail Hollow. Could he imagine himself winning a major in his home state?

"That's always the goal that I work hard to do and practice and everything else to be able to get in contention in majors, and hopefully win," Holmes said. "So to be able to do it in a special place like this, I already have great memories here. That would be awesome. Hopefully, the good memories I have, I can just take those with me when I go on the golf course and be more comfortable and just enjoy being here."

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RED SOX IN MUNICH: Martin Kaymer gave past PGA Championship winners a Swiss knife when he hosted the Tuesday night dinner a year after winning at Whistling Straits. In the three Champions' Dinners he has attended since then, the best gift he ever received might have been a hat.

Thank you, Keegan Bradley.

"Every player, he gave a hat from his favourite ... was it baseball?" Kaymer said.

Yes, it was a Boston Red Sox cap. Not that the German is a huge Red Sox fan. Or even a baseball fan.

"That hat fits perfect for my head," Kaymer said. "And every time I tell him when I see him on the range, 'I need that brand and I need that fit.' So I always wear it when I'm out in Munich. ... Not for dinner, of course, but in the city."

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OMEGA DEAL: Three years after Omega signed on with the PGA of America, the Swiss-based watchmaker extended its deal for eight more years.

Omega announced Tuesday a contract extension through 2022 that company president Stephen Urquhart described as a significant investment. PGA chief executive Pete Bevacqua said it is the longest deal for the PGA of America.

Omega replaced Rolex as the PGA's partner in 2011, which caused "watch wars" for the Ryder Cup. Omega has individual deals with Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, the top two Europeans in the world. But it will not be allowed at Gleneagles next month because Europe is hosting the Ryder Cup and has a deal with Rolex.

Urquhart said Omega plans a Ryder Cup television campaign that will be shown only in the United States.

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