home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 17, 2008

Bernhard Langer


DAVE SENKO: Bernhard, thanks for joining us. Maybe just get started, right now leading both the Champions Tour money race as well as the Charles Schwab Cup. Maybe you could talk a little about your year so far. I know you had a chance to see the golf course, maybe your impressions of that.
BERNHARD LANGER: Sure. Pretty happy with my year so far. Started off fairly well. Probably had one big mess-up at Turtle Bay the last day when I was in contention with nine holes to go and didn't have a good back nine. Otherwise, played pretty solid golf. Actually, not just this year, but sort of the last year and a half, had a pretty good year last year on the PGA TOUR till I came out here and had a bunch of Top-10 finishes and one win in five tournaments last year.
So I've been fairly happy with my golf most of the time.
Turning to this golf course, it's my first time here. Very impressed with the condition of the place. The greens are fast. Probably some of the most undulating greens I've played on. We've had a few of those lately. I think the Ginn Classic was very tough greens; Cap Cana was pretty tough, and this week, again, obviously the Masters in between, as well. And that's good, though. It makes you think. It makes you hit certain parts of the green, not just anywhere, and good shots get rewarded and bad shots get punished.
It's the type of golf course I think where you have to position the ball off the tee, and attack certain holes and maybe play away from some trouble on certain other holes. But I've only played it 1 1/2, two times, and I will learn every day that I play on it I think.

Q. After playing today, how do you think the course shaped up?
BERNHARD LANGER: As I said I definitely think it's a shot-maker's golf course and I can definitely see where Tom Watson would win around here because he's still one of the best ball-strikers out here I think. You need to position your tee shots, keep them out of the fairway bunkers, out of the water hazards which are plenty around here, and then hit very precise iron shots. It's not good enough to just hit it to 30 feet here because you have such demanding, severe greens, and a lot of the greens are elevated. That means if you miss the green, it's going to run off and shoot off and bounce away, and you have a very tough chip or pitch or whatever club you use up the green and then over a hill and down again.
So it's difficult to get it up-and-down I think from most places. Guys who hit a lot of greens in regulations will do much better here I would think.

Q. What has been the key to keep it going for as long as you have on both tours?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's a lot of things. First of all you have to be happy. And a lot of guys, when you do something for that long, 30 years of professional sports whatever you do, you pay the toll many times, and I've been able to stay away from big injuries. I've had my little knickknacks here and there, but stayed fairly healthy, fairly fit.
And I still enjoy practicing and enjoy the game. Some guys lose that, too. I can understand why, because if you do something for 30 years all the time, it might become boring. So some guys don't practice as much, and I still enjoy practicing. I like to be competitive. I'm a very competitive person in nature.
I think often my swing has probably gotten a little better over the years. I've never had an horrible swing, but probably didn't have the most stylish golf swing, either, years ago. And I think I've worked with my coach for 30 years now, Willie Hoffman, and bit by bit, we are just trying to improve and adjust the swing to the body, because my body is not as flexible and as strong as it was 20 years ago.
So you make slight adjustments, and I think he's done a good job with me, and I'm working hard at it. So hopefully my missed shots are less wide now than they were some years ago.

Q. Did you have a tough choice to make last year? Were you ready to come on this tour, because you were playing well last year; was it a hard choice and did you struggle with that at all?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, at first it was a little bit difficult. I still enjoyed being out there. That's what I was used to and that's all I knew, and I still had success and fun out there. I knew a lot of the guys.
But on the other hand, now that I've been here for a while, I don't miss it a great deal to tell you the truth. I really enjoy playing out here on the Champions Tour. We have fantastic camaraderie. We have good golf courses, great venues. There's a lot of other benefits like going home on Sunday night most of the time and then coming out Tuesday evening or Wednesday; I couldn't do that on the regular TOUR.
So those are things that are important to me, and also being competitive again, week-after-week. I feel if I play close to what I can play to, I can be in contention many weeks out here; while on the PGA TOUR, there are certain golf courses that are so long, that I could not really compete on some of the courses with my length.

Q. The recent history of the Champions Tour has been defined by a player that is sort of the big dog out here; Hale Irwin for about the last 12 years, and before him, Trevino. It's to the point where this seems to be a time for the changing of the guard and there's a lot of people who believe that you could be the next era's Irwin out here. Do you think you want to be that committed to the Tour to play that much, and just your thoughts on being the headliner out here.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I'm definitely committed to playing this tour. As I said, I enjoy myself. I like the courses I like the people, I like the whole environment and everything that comes along with it. I'm no stranger to being in the headlights or whatever, either, headlines. I was ranked No. 1 a long time ago, and I was in the top three in the world for many years.
I know it can be very demanding on your time and on your private life, and I'm not going to be one to play 30 tournaments a year. I haven't done that, and I will not do that. I'll play somewhere between 20 and 25 a year, no matter when.
So I am committed to this tour for sure. I can see myself dropping the odd event on the PGA TOUR or European Tour and maybe playing one or two or out here, and not the other way around. I'm still committed to playing my own tournament in Germany which I own; and I think I need to play that, first of all, for the sponsors, but second of all, for tournament golf.
Otherwise, I might play the Masters a few more years. This year I'm going to play THE PLAYERS Championship; so that could be the last time because I'm not going to be exempt in the future unless something drastic happens.

Q. With all of the marquis names that come on to this Tour, established players from the regular TOUR, is it a little surprising that history has shown that there always ends up one premiere player out here?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I think lately, you know, you have phases when there's one dominant player. Lately you've had more than one. You've had Jay Haas and Loren Roberts who have been the two that have been more dominant than Hale Irwin. I know Hale Irwin has been dominating the Tour for a number of years. But it seems like when you get near 60 or so, the body is just not producing what it was when you were 50 I think.
And I see the same on the regular TOUR; when you're 30 you're stronger than when you're 40; and when you're 40, you're stronger than when you're 50, and it progresses maybe just faster as we get older. So age has something to do with it obviously.
But to continue on that, I think there's also a lot of good players out here now, maybe more so than ever before, I would like to think so, because the guys on the regular TOUR are keeping in shape. They are looking forward to this and know there's another career waiting for them.
I remember last year there were 17 rookies in my class, in 2007; there was 17 of us, and this year there's another fairly good number I think. There's a lot of good players out here and it's going to be tough to dominate. It's going to be very difficult. You have more players I think who can win tournaments here now than you might have ever had before.

Q. What's your thoughts on Tiger's surgery and just a reminder that golf can be so fleeting so quickly; are we taking this guy for granted? Are we expecting too much and forget that he's human? Do you foresee this being a problem for him?
BERNHARD LANGER: Fill me in. I haven't heard what's wrong with him, sorry.

Q. He had arthroscopic knee surgery, sorry.

Q. Same knee.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, he obviously has a little weakness there, but he's had it fixed before and now they can fix things in a very short time, and I don't really foresee that as being a problem for Tiger. He can see the best doctors in the world. I don't think the problem is that severe so he probably just wants it taken care of before it gets worse and not play injured, and that's a smart thing to do.
If I ever made a mistake, it was playing injured for too long, and that's something you shouldn't do, and he's pretty smart. I would say he'll be back out here real soon and he'll probably continue to dominate for a number of years. He's the complete package. He's very smart up here, very bright, doesn't make many bad decisions on the golf course or off, and puts a lot of effort into being No. 1 and to stay No. 1.

Q. You're going to be in Oak Hill for the Senior PGA Championship. Obviously you have some pretty nice memories from the Ryder Cup in '95, so if you could just reflect quickly on what that moment was like at Oak Hill for a team that we thought was not going to win The Ryder Cup, and you pulled off the great Sunday come back; just what do you recall about that last day at Oak Hill?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, obviously we had a great week as a team, and we were treated very well. I remember the people there really giving us great hospitality and treating us extremely, extremely well. It's one of the best Ryder Cups from that standpoint that I remember.
The years before, there were times when things got a little bit out of hand. That was not the case in Rochester. That's what I remember. And then obviously some of the last few matches, they were on the balance, and it could have gone either way. You know, it was one of those Ryder Cups where one hole, one shot made all the difference somewhere, and a couple of our guys came through in the end who could have just as well lost, so it was that close.

Q. Your feelings about the golf course? You've played there enough times to know. As you go in there now for the Senior, do you bring some good feelings there?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's a great golf course, wonderful venue. Really tests your skills, and it all depends how they set it up. I've never played a Senior PGA Championship. I don't know how the course will be set up. But again, it's a very demanding golf course where you really have to have all of your game together to do well.

Q. (Regarding tournaments following the Masters).
BERNHARD LANGER: It's hard to compare. It's not really fair either. The Masters is still the pedestal, is still the very crème de la crème event out there, and whatever you have after the Masters, it's going to be a little bit of a letdown. You could go to Pebble Beach, and go, "This is a wonderful place, but it's not the Masters." You can go wherever you want to go; Hilton Head is a fantastic place and very beautiful in its own right and a great golf course, but then again, it's not the Masters.
So I think this is a great golf course, a great community here in Tampa. I think we are playing for some wonderful charities and they are trying very hard to make this one of the top events, if it not already is one of the top events. I think that's what we are focusing on. I've forgotten the Masters; I'm here to play well at the Outback Steakhouse tournament, and that's what my focus is about this week.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297