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May 25, 2016

Bernhard Langer

Benton Harbor, Michigan

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Bernhard Langer to the interview room here at the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Thank you for joining us today. Congratulations on your victory last week at the Regions Tradition. It was the 100th victory of your esteemed career. That's a pretty gaudy number, to be blunt. You've had a few days, has it sunk in and what does that mean.

BERNHARD LANGER: It means a lot. It's been on my mind a few, well a year or two, really, when I got into the mid 90s, thinking, well, I wonder if I reach that 100 number. And all the statistics on the -- they keep statistics about everything, as you know -- and on the PGA TOUR Champions it shows that once you get to that 57, 58 year age mark, you don't win a lot anymore or most 58-year-olds don't win a lot anymore. So, the curve goes way down.

So, I'm here to prove otherwise, let's put it that way. And just it's been a lot of fun. It was great to make it a Major as well. There's two Majors I hadn't won and that was the Tradition, on the senior circuit, the Tradition and this one. So, I got the one down and I got one to go.

THE MODERATOR: So that begs the question, I've got some good news for you and some bad news. The bad news is this one has been illusive, the good news is that in your two previous trips to Harbor Shores you played quite well. I believe tied for fourth four years ago and tied for third two years ago. So can this be the week for you.

BERNHARD LANGER: It can, of course, but there's 150 other guys that do the same thing or are trying to do the same thing.

But, yes, I've been in contention twice when we played here. I like the golf course. It's a big challenge and a test, really demands every aspect of the game, I generally like Jack Nicklaus designed courses because he makes you think around the golf course. He makes you play to certain areas and maybe steer away from others.

So it all depends if I play well and putt well, I might have a chance. If not, you can't expect to win if you don't play well.

THE MODERATOR: Simple. Questions?

Q. If you win this week, you would be the first player ever in the PGA TOUR Champions to win all five Majors. How big of a goal is that for you, what does that mean to you?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's huge in an a sense that nobody's ever done it before and it's always unique to achieve something -- you know, we have had many, many great players and illustrious careers and they haven't, nobody's ever done it.

So, it's a challenge. And I like challenges. I like to set goals and I wasn't even aware of that until last week, so this is a new goal of mine and it's fun. It's fun to look forward to doing something that is unusual.

Q. When you started playing many, many years ago, I know you came out as a pro at a very young age, what were your aspirations then and did you think anywhere along the way that you would still be so competitive doing well at the Masters this year, at your age and continuing to really to dominate where you're playing?
BERNHARD LANGER: I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was trying to make a living. I joined the tour at 18. I was very poor. I came from a poor background. I had very little all together and just trying to make a living and survive. And my dream in boyhood was just to maybe become a millionaire and I'm talking Deutsche marks, you know, which is 500,000 Euros. And have maybe my own home. That kind of thing.

And, yeah, just look where it's gone, it's amazing. Still have to pinch myself sometimes. And that I would still be playing competitive golf 40 years later at this level, no, I would have never dreamed of that. No idea. And that I would be living in America and playing on the PGA TOUR and the PGA TOUR Champions. I come from a small town in Germany, none of that was even farfetched on my radar screen, no. Very blessed to be here, yes, thank you.

Q. When people get to the age of 50 they obviously sometimes let things slip. You haven't let anything slip and if you look --
BERNHARD LANGER: Things are slipping, yeah, they're slipping from up here down to the waist line, but that's called gravity.

Q. You have less gravity problems than most. The last time, if you look at some pictures, for instance, of you winning the Masters, your last Masters, and today, not a lot of difference in the physical photos, obviously, because you've kept fit. Is there one routine you keep to keep yourself fit.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's the nice clothes I'm wearing made by Bogner, makes me slim and trim, hides all the stuff underneath it. Yeah, I like to work out and, hate to say, I love desserts. So here we go. But I can't say no to desserts. So I'm terrible when it comes to that.

But I eat fairly healthy otherwise and don't drink a lot of alcohol and I live an active life-style and I probably have good genes.

But Gary Player was always my golfing idol and he works out more than probably most athletes at his age. And so he set a great example for all of us. I'm trying to be somewhat him, but I'm not getting even close to his fitness level.

THE MODERATOR: I have to -- I'm kind of fascinated by the back to back nature of the Majors here on this tour.

BERNHARD LANGER: You're not the only one.


THE MODERATOR: I have to think the guy who won last week, which would be you, that has to be an advantage. I mean, how do you manage that whole type of scheduling.

BERNHARD LANGER: It's not easy. I once won back to back Majors in 2010. I think it was to the British Senior Open and then we came over and I won the U.S. Senior Open. And it was an eight-hour time change on top of that. Back to back.

That's hard to do. Because your body's worn out and we're wearing out faster in our 50s than the 20 or 30 year olds do and they don't have back to back Majors. But that's our schedule. We're not complaining. We'll take whatever it takes.

And you learn how to manage your time and your life-style and what you need to do to prepare and some prepare more, some prepare less. I feel I'm well prepared. I do what I need to do and hopefully I'm not going to be tired come Saturday or Sunday.

THE MODERATOR: And not only is being in contention all the way through last weekend and coming into this week, is the mental part as challenging as the physical.

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, but I would rather be in contention, because it's more fun that way than not being in contention. It's almost, to me, it's more tiring playing golf when it doesn't mean anything than when it does mean something. So I would much rather play well being in contention and much rather win and have some confidence in my game than struggling on the golf course.

Q. You have always been a contender, you've always played hard, and ready to take on anybody and everybody. Now that we're into the Senior Tour, you seem to be the same guy with the same look on your face when you're eyeing down that hole. Some of our friends are completely different than what they used to be, they're not angry, they're mellow, they're friendly. What the heck is going on?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, we're supposed to mature and get wiser as we get older, right? Some have to do more maturing than others. Let's eve it at that.


But I'm still hungry, yeah, if that's what you're referring to. I still, I'm a competitive guy, if I'm going to be away from my family and work, I would rather do well than just being here wasting time.

Q. Back at Kiawah, on the War By The Shore, you missed a tough putt at the end which at the time at least many in the media made a big deal about how that would affect your psyche. Yet you came back the next week and won and it didn't seem to affect you long-term. How did you overcome something like that?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well first of all, I knew I hit a good putt. I had to change my line, my putting line because of two spike marks. I wanted to hit the putt on the left edge and I asked my caddie and he saw the two spike marks and we determined that if I hit that spike marks that ball could go anywhere, so I decided to putt it straight to miss the spike marks.

And I did hit a really good putt. It felt good and came off nice, had the right speed, started straight, but it did break to the right and went over the right lip and missed.

So, first of all, I knew I hit a good putt. It wasn't that I, you know, totally broke down under the pressure or whatever.

I still felt bad for my team that we didn't win the Ryder Cup and that I missed a putt and all that kind of stuff, but what else helped me a great deal is some of the friends and family and my faith in God. Just that golf is only a game, it's not life and death. It's not a war on the shore. It was a game between 12 of the best players on either side of the continent and somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose. It's all taken out of context.

So, that put it all in perspective for me and a few days later I kept playing well again and as you said, won the German Masters the following Sunday, when I had to make a 15-foot putt on the last to get in a playoff and I made it.

And yes, the first thought I had was, well, you just missed a 6-footer, do you think you're going to make a 15-footer? But that's typical human. I dismissed that thought and focused on what I had to do and was fortunate enough to make it and then win the playoff.

But when you play this game long enough, it's like Jack Nicklaus, he's won more Majors than anybody else. We all know that. But he's also had more seconds than anybody else. We don't talk about that much.

But that's what, you have to put your self in that position a lot of times. To get that many wins, you also going to have a bunch of seconds and thirds and top-10s.

Q. Outside of the competitive aspect, you being here a couple times now, your personal thoughts about the geographic location the setting here at Harbor Shores and in southwest Michigan. Any personal thoughts?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, first of all, I think it's fantastic what KitchenAid does here for this region. I think it's phenomenal, the golf tournament they're putting on together with the PGA is great. The golf course -- and you probably quoted me a couple years ago -- I think it's, it could be the greatest golf course from tee to green or one of the best. If the greens were slightly subdued, it would be one of the best golf courses ever. Anywhere in the world. There's just a couple of greens that are a little severe. And that's my own personal opinion.

But for the most part it's very playable and it's very demanding. The course is in fantastic shape. PGA runs a phenomenal tournament. They know how to organize and set up a golf course. And what else can you ask for from a player's standpoint? Practice facilities are great. Hopefully, the rain will stay away for and we'll have a great week.

THE MODERATOR: Well, thank you, sir, we really enjoyed it. Best of luck this week to you.

BERNHARD LANGER: Thank you. Appreciate it.

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