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July 26, 2017

Bernhard Langer

Royal Porthcawl, Wales, United Kingdom

GORDON SIMPSON: A very warm welcome to Bernhard Langer, as we all know, the Senior Open Champion, 2014 by a record 13 shots, quite a remarkable achievement.

I'm sorry, Bernhard, we can't provide wall-to-wall sunshine the previous time and I suspect it will be a very different golf course.

BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, it is. A lot greener and a lot softer, and that was yesterday and it didn't rain much yesterday as we all know. So it's going to be even more softer as the week goes on because we're going to expect more rain every day I think.

First of all, I want to apologize about my voice. I've got laryngitis and I'm not feeling good. Probably shouldn't even be out here. But I'm trying to speak as loud and clear as I can, and it just hurts a little bit. I don't feel great but hopefully you can still understand me.

So the course will play a lot longer. They made a couple changes, the par 5s. Two of them are not reachable anymore I think. Scores will go up and with the forecast of the wind blowing 20- to 25-miles-an-hour, that's not going to help, either. I think the course will have a bigger advantage on us. The scores were low last time we're here. They are not going to be low this time.

GORDON SIMPSON: You've had some memorable weeks in your life. Where does that one sit in, 2014, to win by such a substantial margin?

BERNHARD LANGER: It's very much up there. The play I played that week as exceptional. It doesn't happen very often and it might have been the best golf of my whole career, four days in a row. I did everything well: I drove it well, hit good irons, short game was good.

Had one lapse there, I think it was 15 or something, 14, on Sunday when I 3-putted from nowhere but I at that point had such a big lead that I was not focusing properly. I had to pinch myself and say, all right, still got a few holes to go. Don't let it slip.

Q. Have you ever won by more than 13 shots?
BERNHARD LANGER: I won by 17 at the World Under 25.

GORDON SIMPSON: Was that the event that really kick-started your career?

BERNHARD LANGER: It was pretty much, yes.

Q. What do you like about this course? There's been discussions about it maybe one day being an Open venue. Could you see that in is it good enough?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think it is, yeah. I like everything. Doesn't matter where the wind is coming from. It's a good test. You've got all sorts of bunkers. You've got very difficult set of greens, very well protected, and I don't see any reason why The Open shouldn't come here.

Certainly the golf course is good enough. I don't know about the surrounding areas; if you can accommodate that many people and accommodations and all that. I'm not an expert in that. But I believe the golf course is all that you need.

Q. The field this week, it's all the old boys back in the 80s and 90s. Is it nice to reminisce with the likes of Faldo, Woosie, yourself?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I see them every week, so for me it's nothing special, except Faldo, he doesn't play a lot. But all the others I see pretty much on any given week. But I'm sure it's exciting for Wales to have many of the legends and some of the big names in the game back here.

GORDON SIMPSON: We don't talk too much about milestone birth days but you're not too far away from the next one. Having said that, it's been a fairly remarkable year for you already, hasn't it?

BERNHARD LANGER: It's been another great year. It's been an awesome run for me on the Champions Tour for me since I turned 50, and this year, it's been, yeah, very exceptional, too, with two majors already and another win. Probably should have won two weeks ago but I didn't. I pretty much gave it away.

But that happens; when you're in contention, you put yourself there, you're going to win some and lose some. Nicklaus proved that case. He won 18 majors but also had, what, 18 seconds or something like that. People don't talk about that much but it's just reality.

I'm very blessed and very fortunate to be playing at the level I'm playing and having the success I'm having at almost age 60 now. It's pretty amazing and I'm loving it.

Q. What would you guess at the winning score?
BERNHARD LANGER: No idea because I haven't actually played the course the way it is now. Yesterday was as pretty a day as you can find. Today is about the opposite. The wind is about 20 to 25 and I think the forecast is for that kind of wind throughout the week. So I really don't know.

Q. The weather forecast in this country is not good -- you'll get good weather and bad weather, I'm sure.
BERNHARD LANGER: I think it's going to be mostly bad, what I've heard. (Laughter) I think it will be over par. But I've been wrong before. I'm not a good forecaster. I'm a better golfer. (Laughter).

GORDON SIMPSON: Weather forecaster?

BERNHARD LANGER: Forecaster of anything.

Q. How long do you think you'll keep going? You're still doing so well.
BERNHARD LANGER: I have no idea. I really don't. I've always said three things have to be in place for me to keep going. One is to be healthy, because if you're not, you can't play the game properly. And have some success and enjoy the game. So if any of those three are missing, then it's time to hang up the spikes and go and to something else.

Q. Just wondered, it's been such a remarkable year, but has it been blighted by all this continued talk about the putting and the anchor stuff.
BERNHARD LANGER: I personally don't understand it because I'm a man of integrity and the last thing I want to do is break rules and be known as cheating or something. I mean, that's the very last thing I want.

I know when I'm anchoring and when I'm not anchoring because I control my hand. I hold it like this, right. It goes sideways, you can see it. So when my knuckle is away from the body, I'm not anchoring or touching any part of my body and I know I'm within the rules.

What's even stranger is that I have conferred with the USGA rules officials, with the Champions Tour officials, on a regular basis. I told them what I'm doing. I asked them before. I practiced that way and they have wholeheartedly said, you're within the rules, you're not breaking any rule and you can continue doing this.

And then you have a few people that come up on whatever it is, Twitter or somewhere else, and questioning my integrity, which is really hurtful. But I can't stop people talking, whatever they are talking or reporting or whatever. I can only control what I'm doing. I'm going to play golf within the rules and do the best I can.

Q. Do you think the rule is too vague?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't think so. The rule is actually very simple. You can't anchor. And I'm not anchoring. I haven't anchored since January 2016. That's all I can say to that.

Q. You mentioned how hurtful some of those criticisms have been. How emotionally have you been able to put those behind you, or have they bothered you a lot?
BERNHARD LANGER: They bothered me a little bit. I'm just disappointed in some of the people, you know, especially -- well, I don't need to mention names. Because we're all in the game of golf. We all make a living in the game of golf and we should be talking about good stuff and positive things, and not, you know, be negative.

And as I've already explained, I know I'm within the rules. Otherwise, you know, it would be a different story. But I can feel when I touch my body and when I don't touch my body. All of you can, and it's that simple to me.

Q. It seems almost like a vendetta against you?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, but it's not just me. There's other players that are using the long putter and that are having a similar method. But you know, it's human to be jealous; let's put it that way. If I was No. 18 0 on the Money List, I don't think anybody would be talking about it. But I've been No. 1 the last few years on a regular basis, and now Scott McCarron has a lot of success, as well. We're actually No. 1 and 2 on the Champions Tour. So you're going to have people, you know, being jealous or whatever you want to call it, I don't know.

Q. One other thing, you mentioned the great year you're having now. If you go back to when you turned 50, if you could reflect back then and everything you have accomplished, would you say you have exceeded expectations or are you right where you thought you would be?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think I've definitely exceeded expectation. I really didn't know what to expect. I've heard from guys that it's very competitive, and many of us think, oh, I'm the youngest on the block and I'm just coming from the regular tour and I should be tearing it up. That's how a lot of guys think, and they come out here and they haven't won in years or they have won one time, and in a few years, it is competitive.

So my goal is to really be maybe one of the top five players on a regular basis, and I've always been consistent in my career. I've had a lot of consistent years or playing consistently good golf. But the last few years have been exceptional, yeah, better than I had hoped for.

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