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Grief on the greens

Martin Kaymer has thoroughly enjoyed his role as defending champion this week. On the golf course, though, he hasn't had so much fun, in large part because he's struggled on the greens in both of his first two rounds.

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Martin Kaymer lost the handle on his driver on the 14th tee box, but the big stick was the least of his worries on Friday. (Getty Images)

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Martin Kaymer had a great time introducing the other PGA Championship winners to a traditional German Christmas dinner of goose, red cabbage and knodel at Tuesday’s Champions dinner.

Once he got on the golf course, though, Kaymer found life more difficult. And he appears headed for an early exit in his title defense after shooting a 73 on  Friday that left him 5 over for the tournament.

"Playing-wise it was fine," Kaymer said. "It’s just nothing went in. I hit every green in regulation on the back nine and I just made one putt and it was on the last hole. I was in good position, but it didn’t happen. It was a frustrating day.

“I just tried to keep fighting until the end because you never know what’s going to happen. It’s a tough finish here the last four holes, so maybe you could pick up a couple shots. But overall it was a frustrating tournament because nothing went my way."

Kaymer, who beat Bubba Watson last year in a playoff at Whistling Straits, has been working hard on his swing of late, and for the most part his ball-striking was solid. He hit 8 of 14 fairways and all but four greens in regulation on Friday.

His putter was exceedingly uncooperative, though -- the former world No. 1 took 34 putts in the second round and a total of 64 for the first two days.

"I haven’t really focused on my swing at all the last couple days," Kaymer said. "I just want to play. I work on my swing when I’m on the range, and when I’m on the golf course I just play, and I was just very unfortunate on the greens. Nothing really happened. I had a lot of lip outs and putts that went over the edge."