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March 9, 2008

Bernhard Langer


DAVE SENKO: Bernhard, congratulations. I'm sure you would liked to have been in here probably an hour or more earlier. Just talk about your day. A lot of ups and downs, but fortunately things ended on a positive note for you.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's true. I actually played very well. It wasn't so much the ball striking. The putter kind of went cold today. I had some really bad breaks, too. Three putts there on 14 which was terrible after a lob wedge into it. I had 80 yards on my second shot. I hit a huge bomb out there on the tee shot.
80 yards, great lie, you know, no excuse. Did it to about twenty feet and then I 3-putt. Then same thing on the 16th hole. 17th hole in regulation I hit really one of my best shots today. 7-iron rock solid straight on line, and to hit right at the top of the slope. If it goes this much further it bounces forward and it's within five to ten feet.
Now it sucks all the way back and we've got a 50-footer. Made a really good putt. Looked like it might good in and it rolls about four feet by. Then played the next one left edge, or right edge, because it broke, and just hit a little too firm or hit something, I don't know, lipped out again.
Those two 3-putts really hurt me. Made a great putt on 18 in regulation after hitting two very solid shots, and it rolled over the green. Hit a bad chip shot and then made about a 15-footer or something like that for birdie to get into the playoff. I think the rest you know.
It was, you know, good birdies first time round, and then obviously great birdie on 16. Both of us had a couple great up and downs out of the bunker on 17 myself.
I could have maybe put it away the second time around on 18 when Jay hit it in the bunker. I knew there wasn't going to be an easy bunker shot, but I pulled my 5-iron and hit it in the other bunker, which wasn't any easier from there. We both made the same or similar mistakes.
In the end I was fortunate, because he played a great chip shot. Almost holed it. It hit part of the hole and then came back out. And then, you know, he missed about a four-foot putt or whatever it was, four and a half, which he doesn't do very often.
But the greens at this time of the day are not perfect and you got to be very careful.

Q. How long of was your tap in on 18, on the last hole?
BERNHARD LANGER: It was just a few inches, maybe four inches or something.

Q. Did you think for a split second his chip on the last hole might get a piece of the pin and go in?
BERNHARD LANGER: I stood on the side, so it was difficult to see. It wasn't really a simple chip. It depends on the lie, but he played it very well. I'm not sure if it hit the flag or if it just hit the hole. You know, it could have just as well gone in, but it hit part of the lip and spun out to the side. It was traveling a little bit fast, but at times you hit the pin or it takes the right hop and goes straight in.
He's a great champion. He will win many more tournaments. He's rock solid and he was just -- I was more fortunate today than he was.

Q. Have you ever seen so many lip-outs in one round?
BERNHARD LANGER: Probably not, no. But, you know, at the end I guess neither one of us deserved to lose, but we have to determine a winner, I guess.

Q. Were you kind of waiting for the other guy to make a mistake?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I pretty much figured that he wasn't going to make many mistakes. Jay is known to be very straight, very precise and solid. He's been around as long as me, pretty much, and I didn't expect too much mistakes from him.
I figured I had to make birdies to win. It's just these hole locations were really difficult. 17 and 18 are very, very tough holes to get the ball close to. 16 was the only opportunity you could really attack.
I tried to attack 17. Again, the first playoff I thought I had a very bad break because it pitched on the edge of the green. Looked like it was going to stay there pin high right, and all of a sudden it rolls back into the bunker.
I guess I don't know the course that well yet. I only played it a few times, and there are little things that I just see when I make mistakes like that. I guess you should never hit it right on the pin on that hole.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm pretty tired right now. It sure is. I'm just glad there's something called adrenaline, because that's what kept me going. Yeah, I was a little ticked off last night the way I finished. I hit some great tee shots and put myself into a position to make one or two birdies, and instead I made a bogey.
I had a three-shot lead instead of a possible five- or six-shot lead, which would've made things easier.
Still, there were times today where, like I said, those two three-putts were very tough. I didn't make anything earlier on either. I had some great opportunities to make some putts from 15, 12 feet and just didn't make anything.
But, you know, I played with one of the greatest putters, Morris Hatalsky, and he didn't make anything. I'm not going to get too mad at myself for missing a bunch of putts.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, that was huge, yes, you know, especially after having a bad putting day in a sense to go and put a really good stroke on there and the ball finally did whatever it's supposed to, the way I read it, and that was huge.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Probably not. My schedule is pretty much set, and I usually don't go more than two or three in a row. I made a promise to my wife that I wouldn't, because we still have three kids at home and I need to be home. I'm a father and a husband, and I need it fulfill those roles. I don't want to be known to be one of those guys.
I don't know many successful businessmen that when they lay on their deathbed say, I wish I spent more time at the office. A lot say, I wish I spent more time with my kids and wife. I think there needs to be a balance in my life. It's always a fine line, but I'm trying to find a balance.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm sure they are, but I haven't called them. They probably watched it on the Golf Channel.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: It wasn't that difficult, but it was never easy to get it close because the ball digs in at times. I was really pleased to hit a really good shot there. Looked like I might make it, but it was a few inches short. I actually went from a lob wedge to a sand wedge. I had lob wedge distance and I told my caddie, I'm going to hit a punch sand wedge to keep it low.
I was so shocked when the ball went that high. I truly couldn't believe it, because that was way up there. But then, anyway, I got a good up and down there.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I had an inkling he might make it. You never know. As I said, the greens were a little bumpy at the end of the day, and that green was extremely wet. You could see a lot more footprints there than on some of the other greens.
He had the putt in the first time around in the playoff, very similar line, so I figured he pretty much knows the line now. It's uphill, so there's a good chance he's going to make it. I was very fortunate to drop mine in there.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, we are competitors but we're friends. We enjoy the competition. We enjoy good golf. He made a great putt. He misses the putt, it's over with. So I just thought he deserved a high five there to keep it going. It was a great putt.

Q. You're two for nine on the Champions Tour. Feelings of going for back-to-back, and what you know about Valencia?
BERNHARD LANGER: I know very little about Valencia. Never been there before. I've heard it's a great golf course, but I really have to look for myself and see what I think of it.
Obviously I will try and win again, but it's not easy to do that.

Q. Going for the So-Cal Slam as we like to call it.
BERNHARD LANGER: I've won a couple back-to-back in my career. It is possible. But there are so many great champions out here. I think I talked about it the other day. Out of 78 guys, 55 or 60 could win on any given week. That's pretty strong.

Q. I think you told us yesterday that coming into this tournament you changed your putter.
BERNHARD LANGER: I got a new putter this week, yeah. The one I used for the past two years doesn't have a lot of loft, and I think on poana greens they get pretty bouncy and bumpy and the ball often settles in a depression.
I think you need more loft, so when you hit the ball it gets a little airborne and gets on top of the grass and rolls better. I switched for that reason. I putted really good yesterday, but today and the first day was so-so.
It's not the putter's fault. As I said, I played with some good putters and they didn't make a whole a lot either.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Most of the time. And, you know, some of the breaks on the green. You need some good bounces and good runs on the greens.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Earlier when we tee'd off it was southeast, and then somewhere around, I don't know where, it switched to southwest and then actually more west. That's always tricky when that happens because, you know, I put in my yardage book the wind direction or the compass. When I play a practice round I put my compass in there because you can't use the compass, so I know where the wind is coming from.
I start off with southeast and all of a sudden it's southwest. That's a big difference. You need to be aware of it constantly.

Q. You have a little fun or were you bantering with him?
BERNHARD LANGER: We talked a little bit. He asked me if I 3-putted 17 in regulation and I said, Yes, I did. He said, Yeah, he did, too. And then when we both made par on the 18th, the second time around, we both said, Well, we sure could have done better there. That wasn't very pretty after really good tee shots. .
I only had 5-iron into the green and I pulled it left. Then we when we both birdied. We had a bit of fun there on 16. You know, we are all tough competitors. And we want to win. But at the same time, we're very blessed to be out here doing something we enjoy doing.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: It was getting there. Yeah, I think maybe we could have had two or three more holes. I'm not sure. Good thing we changed the clock or we'd be back here tomorrow, I think.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

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