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November 17, 2004

Bernhard Langer


Q. Can you compare what the difference is between this tournament and a Ryder Cup?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, there are a lot of emotions and a lot of things that have happened over the years and it has a huge build-up; that's probably the difference that we don't seem to see in this tournament yet. The media build-up in Europe, it starts 12 months before. Every tournament that counts for the Ryder Cup, it's not who won the Spanish Open or the French Open; it's how many points someone earns or for the Ryder Cup. So it just shows you how important it is that a lot of that seems similar over here, too. Maybe not to that extreme and I don't quite see that yet for this tournament. But it often takes a while. I think the first five or ten Ryder Cups maybe didn't mean quite as much as they have meant the last 30, 50 years now.

Q. Do you think this will ever be as contention as a Ryder Cup?

BERNHARD LANGER: That's a good question. I mean, history will tell. Hopefully we'll continue to have a sponsor for this event because I think it's a fantastic event. The players really enjoy it and I think, you know, it could become very, very big in the future.

You know, you have the age group and the people playing that spectators can really relate to. A lot of the spectators on TV I would guess would be between the age of 40 and 70, and that's the age group you have out here so, they have been following these players for 20 to 40 years and they can really relate to them. Sometimes a 40- or 60-year-old, it's hard to relate to Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or somebody in their 20s and hits the ball 310 and a wedge 150 and things like that they can't really relate to. Some of the rookies they don't know, but they have known us for so many years that they really feel like they know something about us and they enjoy watching us.

Q. Can you talk about the golf course?

BERNHARD LANGER: The golf course I think is one of the most picturesque courses that I've ever played. You've got fabulous views all over the place, beautiful to look at. You know, you stand on the tee and every -- wherever you look, the views are just magnificent. And it's a very, very well designed golf course. Some of the greens are extremely severe for the kind of lengths of the hole that they are, but it's very challenging. And I've only played it in perfect conditions. I can see if the wind blows 15 to 25 miles an hour, it could be a different animal all together. But I like the golf course. It's very demanding.

Q. How do you look the at Rest of the World's chances this week on this course?

BERNHARD LANGER: Again, I think on paper the U.S. Team looks stronger, but I still think we have a pretty good team, too. So if we play to our capabilities I think we have a chance to win.

But, you know, the bottom line is who plays well.

Q. Having been the Ryder Cup Captain now and having experienced now, do you prefer to be a player in an event like this or a captain?

BERNHARD LANGER: I really enjoy both to tell you the truth. I've been a player for ten times and I've been captain once. I enjoyed playing and I really enjoyed captaining. It's obviously totally different but I really enjoyed both experiences tremendously.

Q. Would you have enjoyed it as much had you been on the other end?

BERNHARD LANGER: I think I would have still enjoy it and I have to put it in the right light and the right words because obviously losing is never a lot of fun, but I still would have really enjoyed the week I had with my players and their wives and the meetings we had in the team room and the times we had together. That was really the highlight. Winning was a bonus. And so even if we had lost, I think I would have taken a lot away from that week just being with a group of people that my team represented.

Q. How much of the Ryder Cup carries over to a different tournament like this, team competition, or are people more concerned with what they did in this tournament last year and what the team did last year?

BERNHARD LANGER: This has very little to do with the Ryder Cup. But on the other hand, every time you kind of beat America it feels like, oh, they are not invincible. And they have won four out of five Ryder Cups. The Presidents Cups have been very close as far as I remember. So there's, you know, we know as players that they are not invincible. We know we can beat them if we play well.

Q. Did your game suffer because of your captaincy and the time you put into that?

BERNHARD LANGER: It did. There's no doubt about it. But I don't know if it was just because of the captaincy or because I injured my left wrist at the Wachovia Championship in May, and then I had to lay off for about three months and that certainly set me back.

So I played very well early this year. I played ten tournaments. I won over $700,000 , had three or four Top-10s and played very, very well, was in contention a few times. If I could have continued with that form, I would have had a fantastic year. But as I said, I didn't play for three months because of injury and then the Ryder Cup commitments, and then I just, you know, there was no point of pushing a lot of tournaments. And so I played very little these last five months.

Q. What have you done in the aftermath of the Ryder Cup the last two months?

BERNHARD LANGER: I took some time off and then I played three in a row. I played the World Match Play Championship in England where I beat Vijay the first round and then lost to Jimenez. And then I played Disney and I played Tampa.

Q. Was there any unwinding process?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I took, what was it, two weeks off I think after Ryder Cup. I needed it because that I played the German Masters, which is my own tournament in Germany the week before the Ryder Cup, and then the Ryder Cup, and those two weeks are the two hardest weeks the whole year. Because of my own tournament, I'm a player and I'm the organizer, I'm the presenter, I've got to do everything -- well, not everything. I have a great team, but I've just got to be there from morning till night, you know, taking care of the sponsors and having dinners and doing all sorts of things, interviews.

So those were two very difficult weeks in a row. It took a lot out of me but that's all right. The adrenaline kicked in and we survived.

Q. And do you feel you have -- as a captain or as a player, what do you feel you have more an impact on a tournament like this, as a captain or as a player?

BERNHARD LANGER: As a captain you have more impact. Certainly at the Ryder Cup, or you can have more impact. It depends on what kind of captain you are, if you're really involved or if you're just letting the guys go about their own business. As a player, you just, you know, try to win your match and help the others out if you can by giving them a tip here or there and just creating an atmosphere and that's about it.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you, Bernhard, for coming in.

End of FastScripts.

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