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July 25, 2008

Bernhard Langer


SCOTT CROCKETT: Bernhard, thanks as always for coming in to join us. Another testing day out on the links at Troon but another good performance by you. Give us your thoughts on level par 71 and 1-under for the tournament.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it was really difficult this morning. The wind, I think it was blowing 20 to 35; and hence, I was hitting three to four clubs more than the yardage. Pretty tough going out, because everything was into the wind off the left.
And then coming home, the holes play a lot shorter, but problem is, now you can't stop it. Everything hits, the course is quite firming up now with very little rain lately. And holes like a bunch of pin positions are at the front like 17 and 16 and a few others; 15, it's very hard to stop the ball and get it close to the hole.
Generally I hit a couple of wayward shots today, two or three that cost me but otherwise, the short game was pretty good.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It's difficult to gauge at 18, but do you get a sense that perhaps the wind is dropping a bit? Did you feel that your last few holes?
BERNHARD LANGER: Definitely. I feel like right now it's blowing probably ten to 15, and earlier it was 20 to 35 at times.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You bogeyed the 4th, what did you do there?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think it was 3-wood off the tee and then I was on a hump, sidehill uphill lie into the wind and I blocked my next 3-wood to the right into the rough and had a horrible lie. So I just tried an 8-iron but it just kind of went straight left like it does here, and from there, I hit it on the green and 2-putted.
9 was three really good shots. Had to hit driver today and then 5-iron and made about a 30-foot putt.
11 is almost unplayable with this kind of wind. It's a really good hole into the wind but downwind, you just, I mean, I've watched groups, group after group, and they are all hitting different clubs from driver to 3-wood to 4-iron to everything and two-out-of-three seem to end up in the gorse. It's extremely tough with right right-to-left downwind. I pulled it left fractionally and went into the left gorse and was able to chip it 30 yards forward sideways and hit it on to the green and 2-putted, bogey.
15 was a really good drive, and then about a 30-, 40-yard pitch shot to two feet.

Q. If you today played you 25 years ago, which one would win?
BERNHARD LANGER: That is a good question. It depends, 25 years ago, I was probably at my prime, so the younger version might win.

Q. But surely now the intelligence you have in the game and the course management you possess would give the older you a chance?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah I would agree with some of that. I was always good with course management and I would always plot my way around the golf course well even at a young age because I would make sure I did my homework before the tournament started, that kind of thing.
But I have days now where I play probably as good as I've played in my whole life, maybe just not as often as I did in the 80s.

Q. Have you lost any length as you have got older?
BERNHARD LANGER: Probably not, because of the equipment. I might even be fractionally longer right now than I was 25 years ago, if you go that far back.

Q. Apologies if this question has been asked before but is The Ryder Cup in your thoughts at all?
BERNHARD LANGER: As a player you mean? I don't know but I don't think Faldo really needs me. I mean, I could possibly compete. I think I could do fairly well but at the same time, I think he has a bunch of young players who are just as good or maybe better, or you know, might hit it further and that kind of stuff. I don't think he's desperate.

Q. But you were such a good partner to everybody you played with, wouldn't that be something that Faldo could use?
BERNHARD LANGER: Maybe so, you have to ask him. I've tried playing with a lot of different players over the years and enjoyed all of the competition and the fun we've had.

Q. Who was your favourite partner?
BERNHARD LANGER: That's difficult to say because I would single somebody out. Obviously I played a lot with Monty in the later years, while earlier on I played with all sorts of players and I had a lot of guys I really enjoyed.

Q. You played well with Sandy Lyle too?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, Muirfield we did extremely well. I enjoyed playing with Sandy, and I did enjoy playing with Monty, because we probably played more together than anybody else I played with, because I was the one who didn't have any favourite. So I was paired with anybody and everybody, and I played a lot more with Monty than probably any other player.

Q. Are you still enjoying your golf as much now as you did in your peak?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I do, sometimes even more I think. I'm not out there to prove anything. I'm just trying to enjoy my game, and I know my time is limited now.
I've only got a few more years left as a golfer, so I try to enjoy myself, and I'm really having a lot of fun on the Champions Tour. It's a great tour and a lot of great guys, nice to go home on Sunday for a couple of days and then come back out Wednesday, which I couldn't do on the regular tour because it's an extra day. And so there's a lot of good things out there and I'm really enjoying myself playing golf.

Q. Have you any goals left unfulfilled?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, the British Open is unfulfilled but my immediate goals are still to win tournaments because it's just fun to win and to be one of the dominant players on the Champions Tour. Hopefully maybe win the Money List or the Schwab Cup or something like that and just win a bunch of tournaments.

Q. I believe if you win here you would be exempt into next year's Open?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, that would be nice, I guess so. Where are they going next year? Turnberry? That would be super.

Q. Are you still as physically fit as you used to be?
BERNHARD LANGER: I wouldn't say so. I wish I could say I was but things are hurting all over the place!
SCOTT CROCKETT: Something you share in common with your audience, Bernhard.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I'm sure we all have problems.

Q. But you don't look any different to us from the way you used to. Do you have a portrait in the attic!?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, well, thank you, I appreciate it. But looks can be deceiving.

Q. Do you still practice as much as you used to?
BERNHARD LANGER: I practise less than I used to. I was a severe practiser in my younger days. Faldo and I were out there all the time, from morning till night it seemed, and the bodies just don't take it anymore. And I don't feel I need to.
I feel like my swing is -- I don't need to be out there beating a thousand balls to find my golf swing or do this or do that. I've had the same putter for 12 years and same putting style and everything and I just feel I get away with practising less. When I play in a tournament, I'm still out here anywhere from six to ten, 11 hours a day. But when I'm home, I do a lot less.

Q. If you did get into Turnberry, would what Norman did last week give you encouragement?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think it always does. We always root and cheer for each other when one of the over 50s is up there with the young boys and does well and encourages all of us. I think it will happen more and more as you get -- Vijay is going to be there soon and Fred Couples, and a bunch of other guys who can play. And I think there's no reason why a 50- or 53-year-old or whatever couldn't win a tournament on the regular tour or compete with the guys on certain golf courses.
You know, if the golf course is extremely long, then it's tougher for many of us, because do you lose some distance.

Q. Is that why there is a frustration with you how the Masters is set up nowadays in the fact that it is almost becoming impossible for those guys who don't hit it that far?
BERNHARD LANGER: Right. It is extremely -- it is extreme there, because there's about six or eight holes where my tee shot pitches into the hill and stops and the other guys pitch on top of the hill and bounce, and so it's not just 30 yards to carry it further; it's another 20 yards of run and now you're looking at 50 and that's five different irons, and that's a lot.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Bernhard, many congratulations today. Good luck for the weekend.

End of FastScripts

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