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June 19, 2008

Bernhard Langer


Q. How was the course today?
BERNHARD LANGER: The course is in great shape. It was a little cool this morning and a little wet from the dew. It's a beautiful morning, not too much wind, and no excuses.

Q. You made a lot of pars from the get-go, very useful at this tournament usually.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, No. 10 is a hard hole to start off with, and I just wasn't hitting the ball close enough and I didn't hit all of the fairways. So I struggled, got a couple up-and-downs, and the short game held up very well, otherwise I would have made bogeys. The short game kept me in there and then I started playing a little better and on the back side made a few birdies.
On the last, I hit a nice 9-iron in there 20 feet down the hill and just hit it past and lipped-out, so stuff happens.

Q. You haven't won this tournament before; you'd like to, I suppose?
BERNHARD LANGER: Of course, we would like to win any tournament, every tournament we enter. But this is somewhat special because it's the only one that I haven't won in Germany, and running out of time.

Q. Now do you remember how many weeks you spent at world No. 1?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know. Probably three, guessing.

Q. This is Tiger Woods' 500th week at world No. 1. Put that into perspective.
BERNHARD LANGER: It's hard to imagine. In between there was Vijay Singh, and before Vijay, it was probably another few hundred weeks of Tiger. He's just dominating the sport and hopefully he'll recover real soon and we'll have him back.
The win last week, I saw it on TV and it was quite spectacular and was obviously hurting, when he hit drivers and 3-woods he was grimacing quite a bit. To pull it out when you have to birdie the last hole twice to keep on hanging in there, and in the final play of holes, it's good.

Q. Now he's going to take a big break of golf, and you've been injured before in your career; do you worry for his recovery?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I don't know exactly what he has but I talked to a couple physios and they said it's a serious injury. There could be some chance that he might not play again or play to the level he has, but I hope for him, he's very determined and he's a great athlete, and we've seen it before in other athletes that they have come back when doctors have told them they have no chance.

Q. So if he doesn't quite reach the peak that he's at now, does the rest of the world heave a sigh of relief?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not really. It's fun to watch him play at that level. But sooner or later there will be somebody coming along who is just as good or maybe better. It always happens, maybe down the road. If he stays healthy, he's got another ten, 15 very good years ahead of him.

Q. Have you seen that person yet?
BERNHARD LANGER: Probably not. But when Nicklaus dominated or whoever dominated, we thought nobody could ever beat that record and here he goes, he's right on his way to doing it.

Q. You want to enter The Open, but you have not filed an entry?
BERNHARD LANGER: I am not exempt. I am not going to play.

Q. How much are we going to see of you European Tour-wise?
BERNHARD LANGER: This is it. No, I'm going to play my own tournament obviously, the Mercedes-Benz Championship and two senior events, the Senior Open and the senior Czech event. Those four events, that will be it.

Q. Ryder Cup-wise, not saying he's not a good team player but it will change the dynamics of it all.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it would, but for the worse I think. I think Tiger is definitely a team player. As a captain, I would love to have him on my side in any team competition. Can't play; I think that's for the worst not for the better.

Q. You're on form, senior you're-wise, it looks good?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I've had a good year and a half, been playing quite nicely. Had three weeks off and a little rusty with the game but it's been pretty good.

Q. You gave it a really good go last year, but as you said, time is running out.
BERNHARD LANGER: Next year, hopefully I won't feel any worse next year, but as we get older, the clock is ticking, you know. There's only a certain window left, so I don't think I'll have a chance winning it at age 60. So it's got to happen pretty soon, if it ever happens.
I mean, the guys are just getting too long. I played with Martin Kaymer and he's hitting 7-iron and I'm hitting 5-iron and he outdrives me by 30, 40 metres. That's just a different game.

Q. What do you think of Martin?
BERNHARD LANGER: I really like him a lot, as a person as well as a golfer. I think he's got great potential. Hits the ball not just far but also controlled. Drove it extremely well today. Long and very straight. If you can do that, it makes golf a lot easier.

Q. Did you play with him much?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, not a whole lot. Never seen him until a few years ago. Very solid, just doesn't make a lot of mistakes, pretty good all around. Was a bit unlucky today with a couple of putts, but he seems to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and has a pretty good short game.

Q. And he's even more keen to make The Ryder Cup Team.
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm sure he is. Probably has a chance, a good chance.

Q. Do you imagine The Ryder Cup TV audience will plummet because Tiger is not there?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not sure. Maybe not too much, because The Ryder Cup is a thing by itself. You know, creates its own momentum. It's not all about individuals. It's more about the team, a team thing.
You know, wherever Tiger plays, he draws a crowd, so might be the odd one who stays away, but I would like to think they are not going there to watch Tiger; they are going there to see the competition amongst the 24 players.

Q. When is the last time you missed The Open?
BERNHARD LANGER: Last year I think.

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