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THE SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY ROLEX


July 22, 2014


Bernhard Langer


BRIDGEND, WALES

Q.  Welcome back to Wales.  Fond memories for you?
BERNHARD LANGER:  It sure is.  Fondly remember my first win in 1980, and I believe I had a second here a year later.  So Wales has been good to me.  It's this is certainly a gem of a links course so it's wonderful to be back?

Q.  How does it compare to your memories?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, I just remember a few of the holes, not all of them, but it's quite normal after 34 years of playing all over the world and playing lots of different championships.  But as I played it a couple times the last two days, it just reminded me what a good golf course this is.

Q.  And both the Open and the Senior Open have some pretty iconic links courses on them, and you've played them yourself.  How does Porthcawl's course rank with some of those great courses?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† Oh, it can certainly measure up with any of them.¬† Obviously they are all different but they all have similarity at the same time with lots of bunkering and lots of wind and the course can change any minute.¬† You know, you might hit driver, wedge, one day and it's driver, 3‑wood the next day and that's just what the wind does.
So that's part of the links challenge and trying to figure out which way the ball might bounce and just play smart and keep it out of those pot bunkers as much as you can.

Q.  And you've had a lot of success throughout your career and you've won on all types of courses.  What is it about links that you most enjoy, what are the challenges that you most relish?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Well, the thing I enjoy the most is just the firm ground and you can nip the ball and it just makes a certain sound when you hit it, and you can create some spin.
Obviously it's also just around the green you have so many options; you can put the ball and use a 4‑iron or a 7‑iron or a 9‑iron or lob‑wedge.¬† You just need imagination to see the ball, which way you want to play it.¬† There's lot of options.¬† Some courses when we have six inches of rough, there's no options.¬† You just take your sand wedge and whack it out of there.¬† That's all you can do.¬† But here, you can almost use any club in the bag and that makes it fun.

Q.  From what you've seen so far the last day or so, the weather, what do you expect from Porthcawl this year?  How do you expect the course to play and what do you expect from the conditions?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Oh, no idea.  I think I haven't really heard the forecast but I know the wind can change three times in a day.
So hopefully it's not all into me and there's a few holes downwind, as well.  I really have no idea, no expectations.  I just enjoy the challenge and enjoy it and look forward to it.  I'm just going to try to play the best golf I can play and see how it measures up against the rest of the field.

Q.  You have quite a plumb draw with Mark Wiebe and Miguel Jiménez; what would you expect playing with those two?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† Well, Miguel is one of the best over‑50 players in the world I would think and Mark Wiebe, defending champion, so it's certainly a great draw.¬† I was playing with Jim√©nez a couple months ago when he first played on the Champions Tour, and he won and I finished second.¬† I enjoyed my day or couple days with him.¬† It was nice being out with him and I'm sure we're going to have some fun going around here as well.

Q.  Speaking of fun, perhaps getting one back over on him after that near miss last year?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, that was not his fault.  That was my fault.  I just had to do one better and just messed up on 18.  Otherwise, I played really well, really solid the whole week, and hopefully I'll have a similar performance this year and be in contention coming down Sunday afternoon.

Q.  The Senior Open is of course one of the many tournaments you've won before, so you know what it takes to win here, perhaps not on this course, but you know what it takes to win a Senior Open.  I'm sure you would be more than happy to add another one to your big cabinet?
BERNHARD LANGER:  That's what everybody is trying to do.  They are trying to win all the majors in Europe, so this is certainly the biggest event we have in Europe and everybody wants to win it.  I'm not the only one; there's 150 other guys trying to do the same.

Q.  And speaking of that field, the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Tom Watson, Fred Couples; it's a pretty formidable field we have these days.
BERNHARD LANGER:  Always, no matter where you go nowadays in the game of golf, it's a strong field, whether it's the youngsters or The Challenge Tour or the big tour or the Senior Tour; it makes no difference.   There's great players and whenever you play for a title and the money that we have here, you know, the best players from all over the globe come together and compete.
Week after week, we see the guys we've played all over lives with, some guys we've been friends with for more than 30 years, sometimes more friends, sometimes rivals, and you find both.  You create a lot of times together over the years.  We know the kids and families and grand kids in some cases.  We've had competition against each other and together in terms of Ryder Cup or World Cup and other places.

Q.  How nice would it be to return to Wales and lift another trophy?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Winning is always fun no matter where, but certainly would be a unique thing to have won here in 1980 and then win 34 years later again.  I will try my best and find out what happens.

Q.  Do you see any key holes here?  You've been around the course today obviously; any particular holes?
BERNHARD LANGER:  No, I think every hole can grab you.  Every hole can get you.  If you hit perfect shots, you can make birdie on any hole.
Obviously there's a couple that are tougher because they are longer and the dogleg is against the wind and so it's hard to hit the fairway and it's certainly a lot easier from the fairway then coming out of the rough or out of the shrubs.

Q.  But it's very calm and benign today.
BERNHARD LANGER:  I played yesterday.  It was blowing yesterday and it might blow from a different direction tomorrow.  Links golf.  You never know what you're facing and sometimes you go out with a west wind and you come in with a north wind or an east wind.  So that's when the tide changes.  You've got to be ready for all of that.
And links courses especially play very, very different.¬† As I said earlier, you might hit driver, wedge one day and then you can hit ten clubs more the next day or what might be a driver today could be a 4‑iron off the tee tomorrow just because the wind is totally different.

Q.  Would you talk about your form this year, it's been remarkable again, hasn't it?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† Yeah, it's been extremely good.¬† Don't know what's going on but I've been fairly consistent throughout my life.¬† But this year has been a great start.¬† Won the very first tournament of the year and continued to finish second and third and then won another one and won a major.¬† Except for one tournament, I think I was in the Top‑10 in all of the others.
So that's very, very solid play and I hope that will continue for a while.  It's certainly a lot of fun to be in contention.

Q.¬† Just before you came in here, you were practicing bunker shots and you used three different clubs.¬† Can you tell us what‑‑
BERNHARD LANGER:  Well, I guess I expect to end up in a few bunkers, would be of no surprise (laughter).

Q.  Which different clubs did you use?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† I had lob‑wedge and sand wedge.¬† I was testing which sand wedge I might prefer out of the sand.

Q.  So how many will you carry in your bag?
BERNHARD LANGER:  One each.  But I had two sand wedges and needed to decide which one because I don't have room for two of them.  And they are very similar, so there's no need to have both.

Q.  Can I just ask you about Rory McIlroy?  You represented Germany and had great distinction in your career and Rory has a chance next year to complete the Grand Slam.  How big of a milestone would that be?
BERNHARD LANGER:  That's magnificent.  To have won three majors at his age is phenomenal to start off with.  And in the way and the style that he has won the majors, pretty much leading most of the time and running away with some of them is amazing.  It's very hard to do.  So I wish him all the best.
Have we ever had a European winning the Grand Slam?  I guess not.  Somebody's going to do it so it may as well be him.

Q.  What do you think of Colin's game and the way he's come out on the Tour?  He's performed very, very well.
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, he's performed consistently this year and on top of that, he's won two of the bigger events, which boosted his confidence, and it shows.  He seems to be happy with his game and happy with life.  You know, he's adapted to living in America for a big part and competing over there.
I think he's realised that's where the best Senior Tour players are and the best money and the best courses.¬† He's probably made up his mind to play there full‑time, which is good for the American Champions Tour, and I think it will be good for him.¬†
It's just hard for him to go back and forth.  You know, I'd hate to do it.  I did it when I was younger and I'd hate to do it at this age.  But he's committed to it and he's doing very well, so he'll certainly be a tough competitor over the next ten years wherever he plays.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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