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July 24, 2018

Bernhard Langer

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom

TOM CARLISLE: Fresh from Carnoustie, we spoke last year after your victory at Porthcawl how much you were looking forward to coming to St. Andrews and the week is finally here.

What are you motions going into The Senior Open?

BERNHARD LANGER: It's always fantastic to come back to the Old Course. It could always be the last time, when you reach our age, you never know when there's going to be another opportunity. It was awesome to be at Carnoustie, and then we play St. Andrews back-to-back. It doesn't get much better than that.

I love links golf and I love playing those championship courses, and it's great to be here and to have this kind of weather and the way the golf course looks is phenomenal.

TOM CARLISLE: Your season so far, I noticed you haven't finished outside the Top-20 since about March. And you've had a victory this year, as well. Really looking forward to this form-wise?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, the season's been good. Hasn't been exceptional, but it's been good and I had three or four chances to win. WON once and lost a couple of playoffs but pretty steady.

Yeah, hope to get it into gear here soon and hopefully win one or two major championships before the major season is over, and then gear up for the playoffs and the Schwab Cup towards the end of the year.

Q. Was last week as good a preparation you could have had for The Open and a links golf and the way you played?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I think it was good preparation, just to play on links turf and to get the feel of the ground and the sand and the heavy wind and that kind of stuff. I think it was good. I can't see a much better preparation than that. So I'm excited about this week and looking forward to it.

Q. Mentally, the batteries, how are those -- wearing down at all?
BERNHARD LANGER: Hopefully not. I'm 60, I have lapses here and there, but I took yesterday off pretty much. I practised a little on the short game but nothing strenuous. Had my guy, Norbert, work on my body a little bit and got some relaxation and some stretching in. Didn't do a great deal. Today was the Pro-Am, and tomorrow will probably be the hardest day of the week for me just playing a practise round and getting the game ready.

But I should be okay. I can look forward to a couple of weeks off after this, and I'm sure the adrenaline will keep me going. Just, you know, playing in the Senior Open and here at St. Andrews, that's enough to keep your juices flowing.

Q. Wondered if you could remember the first time you came to St. Andrews?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't remember any vivid details. It could have been 1976 or 1978, one of those, but I do remember, I didn't like the course, at all. Just played the first time, one of my first links experiences whatsoever, and I just thought, this is not golf. You're standing on a tee, you see a couple of sand dunes and you don't know where to go and you hit it and you think it's good, and then you end up in a pot bunker and just blind shots. Yeah, I wasn't used to that, basically, and I was pretty green behind the ears, or whatever you call it.

So it took a little bit, and yeah, once I got around the second, the third, the fourth time, it started to grow on me and then later, I really learned that it's a phenomenal design and it's a great test of golf. It doesn't matter which way the wind blows. It can be as tough downwind as it is into the wind or crosswind. I learned to love the golf course now and always enjoy coming back here.

Q. Of the many tournaments you won, including two green jackets, winning here this week at the Home of Golf in the Senior Open, where would that rank in your career in terms of achievement?
BERNHARD LANGER: It would certainly rank up there. I've been blessed with a long and successful career. I've won all over the world and played Ryder Cups and won a couple of majors on the regular tour and ten on the Senior Tour, won in my home country. All of those rank up there.

Yeah, winning here at St. Andrews would mean a lot, no doubt about it.

Q. You said you had an easy day yesterday. Many people would say that after 72 holes of Carnoustie and this coming up, they would not have wanted to pick up a golf club. Why, on an easy day, do you still want to do chipping and putting?
BERNHARD LANGER: Because I knew what my day would be today and my day would be tomorrow, including what I'm doing now. And tomorrow I have a junior clinic; and I got a prize from the architecture people in Europe; and then I have another function with The Ryder Cup at 6 o'clock.

So my day is very full tomorrow. So I've got to play an early practise round to get that in, have a bit of lunch, find time for stretching and working out and all the other activities, that's why.

I felt it was good to get an hour and a half or two hours in of short game, which is not necessarily that strenuous but important.

Q. And how long would you typically have been stretching for on a day like this?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's not just a day like -- yesterday was a little more extensive because it wasn't just stretching. I was getting some other help on working on my plantar fascitis and my knees and other things, shoulders. But a typical day would be about 45 minutes before play and then about a half hour afterwards.

Q. You've stayed competitive into your 60s. What do you put that down to? How much is physical and how much of that is managing to stay hungry at this point?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's all of that and more. You've got to stay healthy to even compete. A lot of my compatriots or colleagues had surgeries or back surgeries, knee surgeries, hip replacements, shoulders, elbows, wrists, all sorts of things, ankles. You name it; we've seen it. I've been able to stay away from all of that so far.

I do take time away from the game. I take breaks in the year during the middle of the season at times. I'm still hungry and I still enjoy the competition and I still enjoy working on the game and enjoy to be in the hint.

And then there's a lot more to that, as well: There's fitness, there's mental strengths. There's just trying to be able to lead the family and go out there and do it, after having done it for over 40 years.

But it's all still there and when some of that is missing, then it's time to think about packing it up.

Q. When do you expect that to happen?
BERNHARD LANGER: No idea. I'll let you know when it's time (laughter).

Q. You must have an idea?
BERNHARD LANGER: I really don't.

Q. You won't play until 70, surely?
BERNHARD LANGER: It won't be another 40 years, I'll tell you that. But whether it's five, ten, 15, I really don't know, I don't. But it doesn't get easier, all this.

TOM CARLISLE: You're one of 38 Ryder Cup players, 20 major champions, 23 senior major champions. Do you think this may well be the toughest field that any of you have faced in a senior major?

BERNHARD LANGER: Could well be. I really don't know. I haven't looked at statistics, who played in what major and that kind of stuff. But I figured having this venue, a lot of the guys would make the trip from America, and we know all the Europeans and from around the world, they are going to show up.

Yeah, I expected a very strong field, but I'm sure that we've had some other strong fields in some of the majors in the past.

Q. A general question on team sports. You will have watched the German team in the football World Cup --
BERNHARD LANGER: Can we ask a different question? (Laughter).

Q. The German coach actually said that he wouldn't let his players know if he was going to play the next day to putt more pressure on them. What do you think that effect had on the players?
BERNHARD LANGER: If I was a player, I wouldn't like that, I don't think. You know, when I was Ryder Cup Captain and I believed in open communication. I felt I believed I needed to let every one of my players know what's going on and why, and why I'm picking him to play or why I'm not pick him to play tomorrow, but I might pick him to play tomorrow afternoon, that kind of thing.

You've got to communicate to people and you've got to make it clear and let him know what's going on I think.

Q. Putting on too much pressure could be bad?
BERNHARD LANGER: There's so much pressure on these guys already. I mean, let's face it, they are representing their countries. Their expectations are so high, from the media, from the public, from everybody who is a coach out there and everybody knows better. They don't need extra pressure. You've got to, as a coach, I think you need to try and take pressure away from them, build their confidence and make them feel comfortable so they can perform to the best level.

TOM CARLISLE: Thank you for your time and good luck this week.

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