February 17, 2023
Naples, Florida, USA
TiburÃ³n Golf Club
Q. Just a very solid start. Could you talk us through your round a little bit?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it was. I drove the ball very well. Hit pretty much all the fairways, I think, and hit a lot of greens in regulation, so I didn't have to get it up-and-down very often, didn't struggle in that department. Hit some key shots very well like the second shot on -- is it 5, the par-5 over the water?
BERNHARD LANGER: So I hit it really well to get it over, and I hit it on the green and two-putted for birdie. I had a nice stretch there of several birdies in a row.
I think started with 6, 7, 8, 9, something like that, and yeah, felt pretty comfortable. Too bad I kind of chunked my putt on the 18th. I hit the ground first. That's why I came up short. Otherwise it would have been nice to go 9-under, but still happy with 8.
Q. Would that always kind of be the play from off the green?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I was thinking of possibly chipping it, but where the ball was, it was into the grain, and that's a tricky lie. You can chunk it real quick. I had a pretty good feeling from the previous hole where I putted from off the green. I thought I could get it close.
Q. What was the tee shot you hit at 10? That seemed to give you a nice spark.
BERNHARD LANGER: Ooh, now you've got me. I can't even remember since they changed the holes.
Q. The long par-3.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, that was a beautiful 3-hybrid. It played long today. Thank goodness it was downwind. It played 230 or something. I hit it to about five or six feet, so that was nice to see that one close.
Q. It seemed like a lot of your putts were in that mid-range, where you hit it pretty tight.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I didn't make any real long putts. They were all short to mid-range. But putted fairly solid.
Q. You came in and you said your game wasn't quite spot on. What have you found the last couple days that felt so good today?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, just continuously working on my game. It's always a process.
Today I didn't make those mistakes that I said I had made the last few weeks, where I would throw in two, three bogeys a day. I was pretty focused and felt decent and hit a lot of quality shots because there are some holes you've got to hit it very straight, because the greens are like that (severely sloped). I hit one really good shot on I think it was the 3rd hole or something, the par-3, and it just rolled and rolled, and all of a sudden it was off the green in the rough. Used a hybrid and got it up-and-down, so that was one of the few greens I missed, but it can happen five, six times here just because of the runoffs.
Q. I think a lot of players come in here and see it as being a really tight, demanding-off-the-tee course. You have such a comfort level off the tee here. How big of an advantage is that?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it certainly helps to be driving it good, and I drove it good today. I don't always drive it that good, either. But today I hit my lines, I hit my spots where I was aiming and never really got into any kind of trouble.
Q. How is this year's 64 different from last year's opening-round 64?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I don't know. It's a year later, so it feels even better, I guess. Last year I was 64, now I'm 65. But it always feels good to shoot 8-under par on any golf course, certainly out on TOUR, and it's great, and I look forward to the weekend.
Q. What is it about playing in Florida? You've broken your age three times in Florida, seven times overall on TOUR.
BERNHARD LANGER: I've broken it several times in Florida. I just feel comfortable on Bermudagrass, the different grasses we have down south because it's hot. I can read the grain. I like fast, grainy greens which we find down here. My last two victories were in Florida last year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports