Dec 21 (Reuters) - Europe's Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer has a nightmare in which the five-foot putt he sank to beat Steve Stricker on Medina's 18th green slides agonisingly past the hole and his career spirals into decline.
The German's victory over Stricker in September guaranteed Europe would retain the trophy after one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of the competition.
"Now I honestly feel like my whole career might have been on the line," the former world number one who suffered an otherwise disappointing 2012, told Friday's Daily Mail.
"I sometimes think about what would have happened if I had missed it. Would I have had the mental strength to recover from thinking I had let down a whole continent?
"I had a similar putt to win my first major, the U.S. PGA in 2010, but the feeling was completely different.
"If I had missed that one it would have been my own fault and I would have moved on to the next major.
"But letting down so many people? That doesn't bear thinking about."
Europe went into the final day trailing 10-6 and needed to win eight of the 12 points available in the singles matches to keep hold of the trophy.
Kaymer's victory ensured Europe reached 14 points before Italy's Francesco Molinari halved with Tiger Woods to give Europe an outright victory.
After being dogged by poor form throughout the year, Kaymer ended in style in Sun City, South Africa, where he won his first title of 2012 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
He said the Ryder Cup victory had helped to turn things round.
"Up to that point (my season) hadn't been good," he said. "I would have given it three or four at best out of ten.
"Then, all of a sudden, you feel a lot happier about matters. On paper you'd probably still only give the year a three or four but mentally it had suddenly gone up a few marks." (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Clare Fallon)