"It was a very strange way to make 3," he said.
But it was enough to carry the 29-year-old German to a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk in a final round filled with stress, emotion and a large dose of satisfaction.
Kaymer got up-and-down with his putter from short of the 18th green for one last par, giving him a 1-under 71 and his first victory in nearly 18 months. The only time he nearly lost his composure was when talking about his mother, Rina, who died of cancer six years. He has a sunflower, her favorite flower, on his golf bag. His brother, Phillip, sent him a text that he described only as a "very emotional."
"To win on Mother's Day ... we show our parents way too little," he said. "We always need some occasions to show them, which is what you realize when they're not there anymore. So to win on those days ... it adds a little bit of a nice thing to the whole week.
"I think about her every day. I don't need a Mother's Day."
Furyk closed with a 66, having to wait out a 90-minute rain delay to make a 3-foot par putt. It looked as though it might be enough to force a playoff, or even win outright when Kaymer started to struggle. Just as he did last week at Quail Hollow, Furyk could only watch on TV from the locker room and settle for second place.
"I did what I could," Furyk said. "I left it all on the golf course, and I hung it all out there today and every cliche you can think of. I played hard today."
Sergio Garcia (70) finished alone in third, though he never got within two shots of the lead at any point.
That wasn't the case with 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was tied with Kaymer going into the final round. He made his first bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole, and four more bogeys followed in his round of 74. He tied for fourth.
"I'm stinging right now," Spieth said, a runner-up at the Masters.
The Players Championship
At TPC Sawgrass, Players Stadium Course
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Purse • $10 million
Yardage • 7,215
Par • 72
275Martin Kaymer 63-69-72-71
276Jim Furyk 70-68-72-66
277Sergio Garcia 67-71-69-70
278Justin Rose 67-71-71-69; Jordan Spieth 67-66-71-74278
279David Hearn 70-71-68-70; Rory McIlroy 70-74-69-66;
Francesco Molinari 72-70-67-70; Jimmy Walker 75-68-71-65; Lee Westwood 67-71-71-70
280Brian Davis 72-67-73-68; Gary Woodland 67-71-70-72
281K.J. Choi 74-70-72-65; Chris Kirk 71-73-70-67; George McNeill 71-68-69-73; Steve Stricker 71-70-71-69
282Russell Henley 65-71-80-66; Justin Hicks 73-70-71-68; Morgan Hoffmann 71-70-70-71; Matt Jones 70-69-69-74; Matt Kuchar 71-71-69-71; Brian Stuard 67-76-69-70
283Marc Leishman 70-72-74-67; Hideki Matsuyama 70-71-72-70; Daniel Summerhays 74-68-69-72
284Kevin Chappell 72-68-75-69; Bill Haas 68-71-72-73; Billy Horschel 72-70-75-67; Zach Johnson 69-71-72-72; Ryan Moore 70-74-67-73; John Senden 70-69-68-77; Brendan Steele 69-73-75-67; Bo Van Pelt 71-70-70-73
285Erik Compton 72-70-74-69; Russell Knox 72-72-73-68; Scott Langley 71-72-72-70; Henrik Stenson 71-70-70-74
286Angel Cabrera 70-74-71-71; Stewart Cink 70-70-70-76;
Jamie Donaldson 74-67-74-71; Luke Donald 73-69-75-69; Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 67-77-72-70; Charley Hoffman 77-67-71-71; Justin Leonard 68-73-70-75; Kevin Na 70-69-76-71; Rory Sabbatini 71-73-69-73; Adam Scott 77-67-69-73
287Charlie Beljan 73-69-73-72; Jason Dufner 69-74-72-72; Martin Flores 70-71-74-72; Retief Goosen 72-70-75-70; J.J. Henry 74-70-72-71; Jeff Maggert 72-71-74-70; Pat Perez 68-73-75-71; Charl Schwartzel 72-67-77-71; Steven Bowditch 72-72-71-72; Brandt Snedeker 75-69-67-76; Bubba Watson 69-72-70-76
288Dustin Johnson 68-74-72-74; Ryan Palmer 71-73-71-73; John Peterson 73-69-72-74;
289Scott Brown 68-71-77-73; Graeme McDowell 69-71-77-72
290Freddie Jacobson 70-70-75-75
291Richard H. Lee 71-71-76-73; Ian Poulter 74-69-72-76; Scott Stallings 67-77-71-76
292Sang-Moon Bae 66-73-79-74
293Geoff Ogilvy 69-70-76-78
294Brendon de Jonge (1), $20,000 69-74-75-76
295Kyle Stanley (1), $19,800 73-69-76-77