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April 8, 2021

Bernhard Langer

Augusta, Georgia, USA

Quick Quotes

Q. I just wanted to talk to you a little bit, last year you made history by making the cut here at Augusta. What's it like to be back five months later? What's your overall take?

BERNHARD LANGER: The course is perfect as usual. In April it's a great time for the tournament to be here. The grass is growing in abundance, and they take great care of every detail. It's fun to be back in April. It's a better time of the year.

It's great for me every year. I just love coming here. It's a wonderful golf course. It's a fantastic tournament, so much tradition and history here, and I'm just so blessed to be a past champion and to be able to come back here every year.

Q. You had a little bit of overlap with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and those guys, and they got to do the honorary teeing off today. What was it like for you to see them do that this morning?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I didn't see it. I was actually preparing myself to get ready for my round, but they always do a great job. They're two great role models and wonderful ambassadors for the game of golf, and my hats off to them that they make the trip up here to join us for the past Champions Dinner and then to tee off and continue this wonderful thing that they had going here for many, many years.

Q. I know you've done a lot of stuff with churches around here in the area. What's that been like coming back to Augusta for you this time around?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's always around Easter, and Easter is the biggest celebration in the history of Christians. If Easter is false, our whole religion or our whole belief system is false, so we believe Jesus rose from the dead and that's key for us. Christmas and Easter are just very, very important, and it's often around this time of the year. Sometimes I remember winning on Easter Sunday here one year, and this year Easter Sunday was the Sunday before, so somehow, yeah, the two connect a little bit here.

Q. Curious about this is such a wide-ranging field. You have all the U.S. Amateurs who come here, as well, and then people like you who have been playing in this game for a long time. What's it like to see the wide range of competitors and have to compete with people a lot younger than you and from the same era as you, that type of thing?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I think it's wonderful for the spectators to see, some of the older people that played the game for a long time and are still somewhat competitive and then see the young up and coming superstars in the future and see the different game they play nowadays. It really is different.

I played with Zalatoris today, young man, and I hit 5-iron on a par-3, he hit 9-iron, so he's four irons longer than the same hole. It's just hard to imagine.

Q. What hole was that?


Q. Joe said that he asked you today if you learn anything when you come back, and you said no, that you've already learned it all. Is that true?

BERNHARD LANGER: He said, do you still learn every time you come out here, and I said, not every time, but I still learned some things that I hadn't seen. But you've got to consider I've probably played this course 200 times with practice rounds or thereabouts. I didn't count the rounds.

So I think I'd almost like to say I know every square inch of the place, but that would be not true. There's still every once in a while I get myself into a position or into a place where I hadn't been before, hadn't seen it, and because it's hard to do, to cover everything, and when you hit a really bad shot you end up in a place and you go, oh, my goodness, I've never checked this place out, but I know why, because you don't want to be here.

That still happens. But I know all the good spots, all the places you should be and want to be. And some of the bad ones, too.

Q. What differences did you notice from November to now?

BERNHARD LANGER: It's just a little different. I think in November we had the overseed which wasn't 100 percent in yet, and it was wet. It played soft, so it played long, but the greens were softer. Now the course is probably where they want it to be, much firmer greens and very good growth of grass. Everything is perfect.

This is the way it should be or is usually the case in April. It's a better time of the year because the overseed has had plenty of time to take root, and the course is magnificent.

Q. You're the same age as Woosie. He played today and he may have to withdraw because he's injured a little bit. All these years, I wonder if you would assess Woosie's game and how he's impressed you over the years?

BERNHARD LANGER: He's a phenom, one of the shortest guys that ever played professional golf at 5'4", at his peak. He may be shrinking now, I don't know. Inch for inch he probably hit the ball further than any human being you've ever seen, and with his boxing background, he was just very strong and had a good mind for the game, beautiful technique. You see him, his grip is fantastic, his turn was always good, and as he got older he struggled with some back injuries and things like that, which many of us, you look at the trend of the population, you take 100 people, 60 or 80 of them have back issues sooner or later, so it's not uncommon. You can't blame it on golf. It's just aging. But he's been a wonderful champion. He's won lots of great tournaments all over the place, and I guess he just had back surgery about a year ago or something like that or eight months ago, so I hope he's feeling good enough to come back and play some on the Champions Tour.

Q. I know you played with Will today. What do you see in him? I know this is the first time you've played with him, but what do you see, is there a confidence about him?

BERNHARD LANGER: I think he's a very confident player. I've watched him a bit on television the last few months or year or so, and already thought he was special on TV, and then I experienced him in person today, and I would definitely agree. He's going to be one of the stars for the future, I think. Certainly has the capability.

You look at him, he's fairly skinny, but man, does he hit the golf ball. I was telling earlier, I don't know if you were hit, I hit 5-iron on 6, he hit 9-iron and hit it the same distance. So yeah, he's three or four irons longer than me on the par-3 and then his 3-wood and driver go a long distance, so that's a huge advantage for the modern game. All these young kids hit it a long ways, but he's certainly in the upper 5 or 10 percent of that.

Q. What do you see for him down the line?

BERNHARD LANGER: His golf swing is really, really good, so with him I think it's more a matter of the short game, can he make some putts or not, and that's where it is. Always has been. All these young guys hit it a long ways now, some hit it 300, some hit it 350, but they're all out there and then it depends who hits it closer and who makes the putts.

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