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March 23, 2006

Bernhard Langer


Q. Tell us about your round.

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I kept the ball in play and putted reasonably well for me. I had 11 putts on the back nine, which is pretty good. I switched putters the first time out, this putter, went to a lighter model and felt fairly comfortable with it.

Otherwise I had six birdies, one bogey. As I said, I kept the ball in play most of the time. I hit two or three bad tee shots, but got away with most of them or got it up and down from a couple of lies. And that's basically it.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: I like the variety the golf course represents. It has some long holes, some shorter ones. Like 17, you don't need a 231 yard par 3 to make it tough; even a 140 yard par 3 can be pretty tough when the wind blows. So I think this golf course at the moment gives every player a chance, whether you can drive it 330 or only 290 off the tee or even 280, whatever it might be. There is a premium on accuracy and distance control and just hitting it in the right spot, and I enjoy those kind of golf courses.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: I never felt that the Ryder Cup captaincy for me would be the end of my career. I just wanted to be the captain before I turned 50, so I was still in touch with the players on the regular Tour in case I'm going to the Champions Tour and kind of lose touch a little bit.

But I never thought that was the end of it. I felt I was competitive before the captaincy, so why shouldn't I be competitive afterwards. What's a few months or a year going to do? It's not going to change that much.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it affected there were two things that affected my game that year, and one was a wrist injury, which I had in May at the Wachovia Championship that set me back. I couldn't play golf for about two months, couldn't practice much, and then the Ryder Cup came right afterwards. The schedule got real busy in July and August.

So there was a period of four, five, six months when I just didn't play a whole lot of competitive golf, and that's difficult to do when you then come back after that stretch of time. But I coped with it; I think I did all right. I played well enough to keep my card and kept working on it afterwards. I'm healthy again, so I look forward to the next couple of years.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I haven't actually. I just have a tendency to leave putts short. And I learned over the years that when the putter is too heavy, certainly the way I putt, I feel like I should it feels like there's so much weight, you don't have to hit it very hard, and that's why I'm leaving them short. So I went to a lighter putter. Now I feel like I can hit it a little harder, because I have less weight in my hand and it helps me control the distance a little better. I wish I would have thought of that a couple of years ago.

Q. From what you've heard, do you feel like they're going a little too far with Augusta National?

BERNHARD LANGER: It seems like the changes are beneficial for the long hitters, but I really have to see it to make a great comment about it. I don't understand why No. 4 was changed. I think No. 4 ranked, in all the years I played it, it was always one of the top three hardest holes on the golf course. It was always 3.5 or 3.4. So I don't understand why you have to make a hard hole even harder.

Then No. 7, I'm not sure that green is designed for a 6 iron or whatever it might be. Again, I'd have to see it. Some changes are dramatic.

No. 11 is pretty severe. I heard you have to hit a fade off the tee almost, and then what is it, 505 or 508? That's a long shot into a green where there's water left and behind and all sorts of trouble, as well.

Q. The fact that you're playing so well here (inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's always been important to think your way around it. But I read a comment that Jack Nicklaus made where the course was designed to have certain angles into the green, and I totally agree. We used to have fairways that were 40 to 80 yards wide. So you had the option to play it on one side of the fairway or the other and then you had a certain angle into the green, and one was more beneficial than the other.

Now with the rough on both sides the fairways are normal sized. There is no more option. The fairways are narrow, you can't say I'll play for the left side of the fairway or the right side of the fairway; no one is that good. That, by itself, takes some of the angles out and some of the strategy that used to be there.

And I also think the tees being further back on some holes, you used to hit a draw on about five shots, now you don't need to anymore. There might be one or two holes where you need to draw it or hook it off the tee. All the others you can hit it pretty straight.

Q. Would you talk about the '86 Masters again, where you were, the emotions you experienced.

BERNHARD LANGER: I can't really remember where I was, but I know I played either just before Jack or even behind Jack. So as soon as I was done I think they pulled me in to present the jacket to Jack. And that was a thrill for me and a great moment in history, certainly for him having his son on his bag, as well. Those were fond memories.

Q. Was the wind a factor today?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, the wind is always a factor here. And at times it was probably blowing around 10 to 15 miles an hour, other times just five or eight. But there was one stretch of about an hour, hour and a half when the rain came down pretty heavy and the wind picked up, where it made things a little bit more dicey. This course is tricky enough without the wind. So whenever the wind blows, it makes it that much harder. I was happy that it wasn't blowing too hard on No. 17 when I got there; it was just a little breeze off the right.

Q. Talk about that stretch of three birdies.

BERNHARD LANGER: 11 I hit a good drive and a perfect 5 wood, just pitched about one foot too short in the bank between the bunker and the green, and the pin was up front. So it got stuck in the grassy bank and I fluffed it out a little short and made about a 10 footer for birdie.

Next hole I had a good tee shot and pitching wedge to about five feet.

And then the par 3 I hit a pretty good 7 iron to about 18, 20 feet and made that putt. So that was a nice stretch.

Q. In '86, could you feel the energy that was going around that golf course?

BERNHARD LANGER: I couldn't feel his energy, but I could hear the cheers and all the noise that was happening. You know when it's it's always noisy on the back nine, but it was especially noisy that year, so you knew something special was happening.

End of FastScripts.

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