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December 7, 2006
ST. JAMES, BARBADOS: First Round
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, we've got Team Germany with us, Marcel Siem and Bernhard Langer. Guys, that was a terrific performance for round one. Bernhard, once again, you've just shown everyone you can still play this game even though you're approaching that certain age.
BERNHARD LANGER: Thanks for reminding me. (Laughing) yeah, every once in awhile -- the golf ball doesn't know how old I am, so that's a good thing. Every once in while I play pretty good. I played last week, I brought a bit of confidence into this week, and made some good putts today. That's what it's all about.
GORDON SIMPSON: And Marcel, you said it was going to be a pleasure to sit here with Bernhard Langer; presumably it was a pleasure playing with him on the golf course.
MARCEL SIEM: Yes, definitely the first time playing 18 holes with Bernhard was yesterday actually, and it was a great hand or to play with Bernhard. It was good fun, definitely. It's a good test and it was quite good out there.
GORDON SIMPSON: You can see why he's one of the greats in the last 20 years.
MARCEL SIEM: Definitely. His game is still much better than mine, but it's good seeing what I have to work on, and he's a great player.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. We'll take some questions, please.
Q. There were some times out there that Marcel you seemed to be hitting the ball wayward today. What advice did Bernhard actually give you?
MARCEL SIEM: Yeah, I was a little bit, what do you call, laid off --
BERNHARD LANGER: Reverse pivot.
MARCEL SIEM: Reverse pivot. And I asked him if he saw that and he said right away, yeah, it is definitely this mistake.
Then I started hitting the ball better afterwards and he helped me out there.
Q. What else did he tell you to do to cure your reverse pivot?
MARCEL SIEM: Actually, if you know what you're doing wrong, it's quite easy to make it better afterwards. So just picking up the balance and on the backswing you just have to move a little bit to the right and that's it. So I'm a feeling player, I know my body and Bernhard says this mistake I know how to handle.
BERNHARD LANGER: I didn't have to tell him; he knew immediately. It's something that all of us do at times, you know, you make a full turn when you hang on your left and you don't have room so now you have to back up.
Q. So it's too much weight on the left side?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, the left shoulder doesn't go behind the ball, it kind of gets a little bit in front or over the ball, and then you come down steep and you pull-hook it or you reverse and then you push/slice it; the dreaded double-cross. (Laughter) I've done that many times. We all know the feeling I think.
Q. Bernhard, you said you played well last week, having said that, is this still any surprise to be leading so far?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not really. You know, nothing surprises me in this game. When the conditions are as tough as they were today, they were extremely tough. It's very nice sitting in here; we were out there in 25- to 45-mile-an-hour gusts and rain showers. There were shots, I mean, I remember standing on what is it, 11, the par 3, I had no clue what to hit it and how to hit it. I just wanted to hit it and get under the umbrella, that kind of thing. (Laughter).
It was difficult. I think that's why the scores are so high because, you know, the greens are good. You can make putts, but when the wind is this strong, if you don't hit the fairway, the rough is growing day-by-day and the ball is sitting down. It's pretty tough.
GORDON SIMPSON: How does your caddie compare with Pete Coleman?
BERNHARD LANGER: He did very well. It's hard to compare him with a veteran like Pete Coleman. He did everything right. There wasn't anything he could have done better.
GORDON SIMPSON: How many times has he caddied for you?
BERNHARD LANGER: This is the second time. He caddied for me at the Deutsche Bank Championship last year in Germany.
Q. Nice to be playing team golf again?
BERNHARD LANGER: It is. I enjoy team golf. I always have. I've played in 11 World Cups before and we pulled off a surprise victory when probably not many people thought we could do it. I've always enjoyed Ryder Cups and Dunhill Cups and all that kind of stuff.
Sometimes I didn't play, not because I didn't enjoy it, just because of other reasons. Every once in a while you have to stay home and get to know your kids and your wife, too.
Q. Is it correct that it's your first time here since '96 or your first time in the World Cup?
BERNHARD LANGER: Could well be. At least five or six years, maybe more.
Q. What advice do you give to your son for the first time he caddied for you, what did you say to him; keep quiet?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, he could talk to me. We talk while we walk and he's actually a plus-one handicap. He knows what to do and what not to do. I really didn't have to tell him a whole lot.
I just said, keep up, because he needs to be there when I need a club. He does very well. He rakes the bunkers. I watched him today. I was in one bunker and he took extra care to make it real smooth, because some caddies just go in and do this kind of thing and leave some marks behind and the next player goes in and finds a terrible lie. He really did a great job there. I even asked him to look at some of the putts because we play these kind of greens in Florida, bermudagrass greens, very grainy. That's what he grew up on basically and so he's pretty decent at reading greens, too.
Q. Is he going to be a pro?
BERNHARD LANGER: He's a bit young to say that. He's got six and a half years of school left.
Q. How old is he now?
BERNHARD LANGER: 16. He's got two and a half years of high school and then four years of college. So got a long way ahead of him and he needs to get a lot better if he wants to turn pro. I wouldn't let him turn pro right now. (Smiling).
Q. Are you a strict father?
BERNHARD LANGER: Fairly disciplined, yeah. The bad thing is -- or not the bad things, I was a bad example. I didn't go to college. So he might come up to me one day and say: Oh, well, you turned pro when you were 15, but that's not going to go very far.
Q. With the weather conditions so changeable, did you have an idea of a good score in mind after the first few holes?
BERNHARD LANGER: I really didn't because I'm not too familiar with the golf course. I only played yesterday and I really didn't know what type of scores could be shot around here, so I had nothing in mind. I just wanted to play every hole and every shot as good as we could and, you know, hopefully be one of the better teams at the end of the day.
Q. Just wondering if you saw much of the Ryder Cup at The K Club, and any thoughts you had on matching the record or did you thank Mr. McGinley for keeping the record for you?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I didn't thank him. It's not about records; it's about winning. You want to keep the trophy in Europe; whether you win by half a point or by ten points it, really doesn't matter too much.
I was thrilled for the guys to have done so well. I think it was one of the strongest teams we've ever seen on the European side. I was definitely glued to the television. I was playing the Texas Open in San Antonio. I remember it vividly. Every morning as soon as I got up, I switched the TV on because it was already on, and as soon as I finished I watched some more. I was thrilled for Ian, the captain, and the whole team to have done so well.
Q. Did you have sort of hankerings to be there again or were you pleased to be away from all of the pressures?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, for a long time I was actually just going to come and watch him be part of it because I'm on the Ryder Cup Committee, so I was invited to come and watch.
I talked to my wife, we had made plans to go, but as it turned out, I really tried to keep my card on the PGA TOUR and so I needed to play a few tournaments. I didn't have many left. So I decided not to go back to Europe and just play a couple more events.
Q. Did you keep your card?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I did not. I finished 138th, so I got a conditional card.
Q. Gordon mentioned the big 5-0 approaching. What are your big plans regarding senior golf and next season for that matter?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, when I turn 50 at the end of August next year, I plan to play mainly on the Champions Tour in America.
Q. Before then, you're going to play a few U.S. Tour events?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, mainly on the U.S. Tour and a couple in Europe.
GORDON SIMPSON: Mercedes-Benz Championship, I would hope?
BERNHARD LANGER: Have to play that one or my brother would give me a hard time.
Q. At what point in the round did the conditions start to kick up for you guys?
BERNHARD LANGER: Conditions were bad from the very beginning. The wind was strong and it started raining on and off all day long. So, you know, I was hoping being first off I might get less wind. But then I talked to some locals, they said, no, it's probably the other way around. The wind slows down in the afternoon.
Q. How fierce was 6? What was that par 5 wind when you were playing it?
MARCEL SIEM: It was tough.
BERNHARD LANGER: Help me out. I can't remember.
MARCEL SIEM: We both hit in the left side of the semi-rough.
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, that was rugged. It was raining when we got to the tee. It was coming sideways and one of those where you just get behind the umbrella, give me the club and hit it. You don't go through your normal routine because you get wet and that whole thing.
We both hit it in the left rough and he had a horrible lie. I drew a pretty decent lie. So I hit driver, 5-wood, 5-iron.
MARCEL SIEM: I had 4-iron. It was the first par 5 I have 4-iron as a third shot. It's not normal.
Q. What did you put your putting down to today? You putted very, very well today. Was it because you were coming in constant?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I putted good last week. We played the Father/Son tournament and I made a lot of putts there. I just feel like I could see the line pretty good. I had a good feeling for the pace. And obviously I made a couple long ones, which is always some luck involved because, you know, basically just trying to get it near the hole and hope it might go in.
They did drop in, a couple of them. It's at times lucky because they could have just stayed out as well. Yeah, I made a lot of good ones. I missed two putts I wish or would have liked to make from maybe six to nine feet, but that's easily done out here in the grain and the wind. There were times when everything was moving; the body is moving, the putter is moving, and so it's not easy to putt in wind.
Q. Was the course almost unplayable at some point?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not really. I mean, on the 11th tee that might have been the worst because he was up and he said, should I wait, because it was so bad. And I wanted to say, yes, wait until it's over. (Laughing).
At the same time I told him, I said, we can't wait too long, we're first out, we're on a certain amount of time that we're allowed to play, and we'll be first to be timed if we're not on the right amount of time. So we ended up hitting in horrendous conditions and we hit pretty bad shots, too.
Q. You probably won the thing, but where did you finish in the Father and Son?
BERNHARD LANGER: We won the last two years. (Laughter).
Q. What were you in relation to par?
BERNHARD LANGER: We were 24-under.
Q. Who finished second?
BERNHARD LANGER: Bob Tway and his son, and Vijay Singh and his son.
Q. Is this in Florida?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's at Champion's Gate. It's in Orlando.
GORDON SIMPSON: Hoping you get a late tee time with no wind tomorrow?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, tomorrow it will be the same for everyone because we take best scores. Today is the only day when some of the, whatever -- it's more spread out. Tomorrow you have to play together and not as good teams play together. So it will be all right.
Q. Do you like foursomes?
MARCEL SIEM: I love it actually. I always love to play amateur tournaments like The European Team championships, Eisenhower Trophy; you don't play foursome in Eisenhower Trophy but the first league, second league things. It's great fun. I think I was -- I would love to play four-ball on a team as well. It's completely different because you have to focus a little bit more and just don't make two bad shots. Especially tomorrow, I have to hope my driver, that it goes straight. Can't hit it in the water hazard on 11 or somewhere else. But I like the pressure and it's good fun.
Q. Do you feel there's a lot of pressure having a Masters Champion on your shoulder?
MARCEL SIEM: To be honest, yesterday evening was my most exciting Wednesday I've ever had in my life. I felt pressure already, but I think it's getting better and better.
BERNHARD LANGER: (Turning to Marcel, patting him on shoulder). No pressure, we're here for fun.
MARCEL SIEM: I learned a lot. Like in the practise round yesterday how he treats the golf course and how he's doing the strategy and just measuring the wind things and everything. So I'm learning a lot and it's good for my experience and just perfect. I'm enjoying it.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well done and we enjoyed it, too. Good luck tomorrow.
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