By Tony Jimenez
VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Martin Kaymer's popularity has gone down a notch on the other side of the Atlantic after he holed the winning putt for Europe in last year's Ryder Cup against the United States, he said on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old German, who spends a lot of his time on the U.S. PGA Tour, explained that some Americans had turned against him following his exploits in Illinois in September.
"A couple of times in the gym and once when I went out for dinner there were guys that came out and said, 'I didn't really like you before but now I really hate you'," Kaymer told a news conference ahead of this week's PGA Championship at Wentworth.
"They said it in a way that was meant to be funny but I think they were being serious. I have had a couple of incidents that were a little strange."
Kaymer sank a nerve-tingling five-footer on the 18th green at the Medinah Country Club to defeat Steve Stricker and clinch victory for holders Europe.
The 2010 U.S. PGA champion said he learned plenty from the experience.
"If it comes down to crucial moments in the last two or three holes of tournaments I am prepared well because I know I did something very special a few months ago," added Kaymer.
"The belief I gained from the Ryder Cup has been very valuable."
Eleven of Europe's triumphant 12-man team will be reunited for the first time at Wentworth this week.
The only player missing is Sweden's Peter Hanson who has been forced to pull out with a bad back.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)