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May 24, 2017

Bernhard Langer

Washington, D.C.

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome back to the 78th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Pleased to be joined by two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer. Bernhard, congratulations on your win last week at the Regions Tradition. Last year you came to us fresh off a victory at the same championship and it was the 100th victory of your career. This year you managed to tie Jack Nicklaus, winning your 8th Major Championship on the PGA TOUR champions. So I ask you, what type, these numbers and all this type of thing, what does that mean to you and where you are right now?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well I think it means a lot when you do something not many people have done. Tying Jack's record is pretty special for me and I'm honored to be mentioned in the same breath as Jack Nicklaus by most of us regarded as the greatest player ever. So thrilled to have done a small thing that Jack has done and maybe still having a chance to go one or two better. But generally I'm feeling pretty good, my game was really good this weekend, especially the weekend, but not too bad the first couple days. Looking forward to this championship. It's the one that has eluded me. I've won the other four, but not this one yet, came close a couple times, but there was always somebody that was just a little bit better, so we'll see what the future holds.

JOHN DEVER: There have been a whole bunch of top-10s in that, in our championship here for you. A lot of near misses. Can this be your week? Can this golf course be the one where you complete it?

BERNHARD LANGER: It can be, sure. I think you got to be an all around good player. You can't just be a good driver or a good putter or, a good short game, that doesn't do it, you got to be good in every category when you play golf courses like these in Major Championships. If I'm on top of my game, I think I can fit that bill. If I'm not, I don't have a chance. It's very clear. So I got to bring my A game to have a, to have some kind of hope to win the tournament.

JOHN DEVER: Questions?

Q. Last week you shot 20-under par for the week, you won by five shots over a field of great players. Do you ever get to a point where you say, well, that's the best I can do and all you can hope is to maintain it?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, that's a great question. Actually, it was funny, somebody was telling me, some marshall or somebody with the tournament was telling me that the pro thinks somebody might go 20-under last week. And I'm going, I don't think so. If you get to 14, 15, that's pretty awesome golf. And that was my mindset. I just didn't think 20-under was possible. But I run into a stretch of really good golf. When you're in the zone, you can do stuff that you normally can't and just to be 14-under on the weekend is pretty exceptional golf. It's not that easy a golf course, there's a lot of trouble out there.

Q. Are you especially proud of having done that at age 59 as opposed to doing it at 51?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, people say that the chances are slimmer when you get older and all that and I try to ignore that, to tell you the truth. I know statistically it's a fact, but there's always exceptions. There were exceptions like Tom Watson, like Hale Irwin, like Gary Player, like Jack Nicklaus, on and on. Sam Snead. So there's always exceptions. I hope to be one of those exceptions. And I can still play good in my 60s and not just up until the age of 54 or 55. So I've already passed some of those years and hopefully continue my winning ways.

Q. As just mentioned, this senior major has alluded you. What would it mean to finally complete the senior major career slam?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well it would be pretty cool to be the only player on the PGA TOUR champions to have ever won all five majors. I don't think anybody's done it. At least that's what I've been told. So it would be a record that nobody has set so far. But it's not life and death. I'm very happy where I am if I never win the Senior PGA Championship. But if I should, it would be a wonderful achievement.

Q. Have you ever played golf with the President?

Q. What's your relationship and your understanding of his relationship with the sport?
BERNHARD LANGER: Whoa, I can't even answer that. I don't know what his relationship is with the sport. I imagine he loves golf. He likes playing golf like other presidents, like President George Bush did and Clinton and on and on you go. Eisenhower. He was a member at Augusta, right? Had a tree named after him. So, that's all I can say to that. And he owns a bunch of golf courses around the world, so, but, yeah, you have to ask him yourself. I don't like answering questions that are more directed at other people.

Q. What is it that you need to still work on in your game? Because obviously you talk to most guys out here and they say you do everything very, very well, but I'm sure that when you're back home working, you're working on certain things. What is it that you work on that is needed in your game do you still think?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well there's all sorts of areas where I feel I could still improve. My technique is at times very good but there's still days and shots -- last weekend there were two or three shots, there was one 8-iron I missed the green, short sided myself and made bogey. And then there was one other shot on Sunday -- that was on Saturday -- and then one on Sunday where I missed the green and made bogey. So, yeah, my technique can be still better. My short game can always get better. You can become a better bunker player or chipper or putter. There's ways to maybe think better around the golf course, to be more positive, not so hard on myself. So there's lots of areas. As we know, the game of golf is not just one thing. It's the full swing, it's the delicate chip shots and pitch shots, it's the way you work yourself around the golf course, your strategy, how aggressive you are or how smart you are. And then also the putting, which is a third or half of the game. So there's many areas where I could still improve a little bit.

Q. The other aspect is, is most players out here, not necessarily even at your age, but even younger, question how you could have the desire to continue to work as hard as you do on your game. What is it about you that gives you that desire?
BERNHARD LANGER: Don't know. I have the desire and that's all I know and I've always had the desire. It's part of me. If I play you in ping pong, I want to beat you. If we play cards, I want to win. Doesn't mean I'm a sore loser, no, I'm not. I know, whenever you play anything, there can only be one winner. But I think I've also learned over the years to pace myself. So I don't practice as hard as I did when I was in my 20s and 30s. When I go home I put the clubs away for three or four days, don't touch them, and then start practicing again. So I've learned that I need time away from the game and I need time to, periods of time to rest, do other things, enjoy life in a different way. And then when it's time to come back out, I'm eager again, if that makes any sense. So I'm not home practicing eight hours every day. That was me 30 years ago. Not now.

Q. Any concerns about playing this event at a course that's owned by the sitting President who is done many controversial things? There are protests planned, are you concerned about that disrupting you or your preparation or your play in any way?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I'm not. I think we have tremendous security usually around golf tournaments anywhere and I'm sure we have good security here and I'm not concerned, no.

Q. Have you ever had to deal with anything like that before in your career?
BERNHARD LANGER: Protests? Here and there. I find it a bit strange to have these protests. I mean, he's our President, isn't he? The majority of the people voted for him or something like that. So that's all I'm going to say to that. Did we have protests with Clinton and other people?

Q. Well he didn't own a golf course. I don't know if there's ever been a protest at a golf --
BERNHARD LANGER: He played golf, too.

JOHN DEVER: Okay, thank you. Bernhard Langer, thanks for your time and have a terrific week here in DC.

BERNHARD LANGER: Appreciate it. Thank you very much. Hope to see you later.

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