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July 22, 2015

Bernhard Langer


Q. How would you describe Sunningdale to someone who has never seen it?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, it's beautiful. It's absolutely magnificent for the eyes. You see the heather blooming, trees and the rolling hills, the bunkers. It's really pretty for the eye, and most holes are by themselves. It's not a golf course where you can see three or four holes all at once. You're really secluded as you play your own hole. Obviously trees and rolling hills, and at the moment, it's very dry. Haven't had a lot of rain here I think, so it's quite bouncy. Makes it difficult to control the distances off the tee because the ball can roll times 20 yards and the next time 60 or 80 yards and it's difficult to control but it's a beautiful venue.

Q. Is that the biggest challenge getting the ball in the fairway?
BERNHARD LANGER: I believe so, yeah. Once you're on the fairway, you can attack from there. But it's one of those courses where you can take chances off the tee but you always are going to bring a few bunkers into play or rough or trees, or you can play defensive off the tee but then you're going to have longer shots into the green. That's what makes this golf course so interesting besides the beauty of it.

Q. Defending champion this year had an incredible 13-shot victory at Royal Porthcawl. Where do those four golf days rank in your career?
BERNHARD LANGER: Very, very high. It doesn't happen very often that you play consistently well for four days at that level and beat a field of 144 by 13. That just doesn't happen very often. I was just on. My driver worked. My putting was good. Most of my irons were pretty spot on. Just was able to increase my lead every day by a little more and in the end it was quite a bit.

Q. Many legends of the game here this week as ever at the British Senior Open. Who was your inspiration growing up? Who did you admire?
BERNHARD LANGER: I always admired Gary Player for several reasons. First of all he's about my size in stature. He loves fitness. He's really the first golfer that put fitness on the map. Secondly, he came from a country where golf is not that big, South Africa, and he had to overcome the apartheid problem, and just travelling to Europe and to the U.S. and other parts of the world. It wasn't easy for him and I felt it was similar to me, my upbringing, Germany didn't even know what golf is. I went to the institute of job placement and the guy says golf professional, what is that, that's not a recognized profession. So I related to him and I was able to play a practise round with him at a British Open early in my career and was very impressed with him, also as a man of faith, and just a great ambassador of the game.

Q. How big is the rivalry between you and Colin Montgomerie at this stage of your career?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, we've been friends for so many years, competing together, and competing against each other. We've had some great moments in The Ryder Cup. Probably most memorable 2002 where we were both unbeaten in all our matches, and that's a hard thing to do and then we obviously shared the victory at the Volvo Masters in Valderrama one year when it got dark and we decided to just share it together. So we've had many, many fond memories together. Beating the Americans in The Ryder Cup and also competing against each other. He's one of the finest gentlemen on the golf course. He's very consistent player, one of the greatest drivers of the golf ball, and so whenever there's narrow fairways, he's in contention. Last year, that was very special. That happens once or twice in a lifetime if you win by that margin, and just every facet of my game was pretty much spot-on last year. So I'm hoping to do well again. It's nice to be the defending champion. We're playing here at Sunningdale the Old Course, which is a fabulous venue. Everybody loves it. This is totally different in a sense that you have to be extremely precise. It's quite bouncy at this point unless we get some rain. And it's going to be a tough challenge but hopefully I'm up for it.

Q. I take it there are some terrific memories around Sunningdale, as well?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, many, yeah. I've had the pleasure of playing several tournaments around here. I remember winning The European Open, before that even winning the British car auction tournament, and Seve Trophy we played here. Then six years ago we had the Senior Open Championship where I missed out on the playoff by one shot. But it's always a great venue and a lot of fun to be here.

Q. Did I not hear you say you've even played this in snow?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, I did. This new course, actually the very hole we are standing on which is now the driving range. I think it was in the late 70s or early 80s, I teed off and by the time I reached the green, we had about an inch of snow on the ground and had to call it.

Q. Clearly you played last week in all sorts of inclement weather. How are you feeling after The Open Championship?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it was a little tiring and taxing because you didn't know when your next tee time would be for a day or two, and you had to be ready. But it's the same for everybody. We just hung around and killed time. But sometimes that's more tiring than actually playing. And then obviously we had to go into Monday. We couldn't fly down here until Monday night. So this week started late but it was all worth it. You know, playing at the Home of Golf at St. Andrews The Open Championship, it doesn't get much better.

Q. And I take it by extension that means the game is in decent shape?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I think I'm fairly close. There's always improvement possible here and there. But it's not far away. Just trying to keep it in play and avoid mistakes and hopefully make tons of birdies.
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