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October 21, 2004

Bernhard Langer


BERNHARD LANGER: What I feel and what I hear from a lot of other people and from a lot of other players, when you win, you're just so excited and thrilled and all the partying and stuff going on that you don't realize what actually happened, what took place, and now that we've had time to reflect, it's just an awesome week for all of us involved because the European team beat the American team every single day, and decisively, as well.

Q. Is it a bigger deal than you realized it was when you accepted the captaincy and the week begins? Has it turned out to be even bigger than what you expected?

BERNHARD LANGER: No, I knew the deal was big. The Ryder Cup is as big as there is in golf, I think, certainly when it comes to team competition, and it doesn't get any bigger than that. I was there as a player ten times and knew what it was, and it hasn't changed.

Unless you question the captaincy, that was different than I expected, but that really wasn't that much different, either. It was a lot of time and effort involved, not a lot of sleep, certainly the last eight days or so, but it's a probably once-in-a-lifetime thing, and it was all worth it in the end.

Q. We must ask you again, what's your latest thoughts about next time?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, again, I'm asked this a hundred times. It's not up to me. There's a committee in Europe that makes the decision, and whoever they think is the right guy to do it, they will approach that person when it's time, and that time probably won't be until the British Open next year or until the PGA Championship because in Europe we only have a 12-month qualifying period, so why should they announce the captain right now. They wouldn't have anything to do anyway. There's no need to make that decision until next year, and that's not my call.

I can't say to you, yeah, I'm going to be captain. Even if I would like to, there's no guarantee because they're going to have to make that decision, so there's no need to even discuss it at the moment because it's not going to happen until May or July.

Right now I'll just take time off reflecting and see what they do and whether I just turn it down before they even might consider me or whatever, but there's plenty of time for that.

Q. Is there a possibility that you might take yourself out of the running?

BERNHARD LANGER: Sure there is because there is other guys who want to do it, and they might have a right to do it or whatever, but it's really not down to us, whether we have a right or not. I think it comes down to the committee, whoever they think should be the person. That's how it's been done in the past and that's how it should continue to be.

Q. (Inaudible). Does it have any kind of effect on your play as you're getting older?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, always it does, your body changes. I'm not as fit as I was when I was in my 20s and early 30s. I'm not as --

Q. But you're smarter.

BERNHARD LANGER: Hopefully I'm wiser anyways. Certain things you just can't do anymore. I mean, when I was young, I could play all sorts of sports and not be too sore the next day. When I do something now, I'm pretty sore the next day. That tells me my body is different than what it was. It takes longer to recuperate. Otherwise I think I can still play golf and play at a very high level. The golf ball doesn't know how old I am.

I'm hitting the ball further now than I ever have in my life thanks to the equipment, I think, and obviously everyone else is hitting it further, but I still feel distance-wise I can compete, it's just a matter of whether I can make the putts or not.

Q. Did your game pay a price for you being captain?

BERNHARD LANGER: It probably did but not just because I was captain. I had a wrist injury at the Wachovia Championship in May, and then I took three months off and played very, very little since, partially due to injuries, partially due to Ryder Cup commitments, so this is the least I've ever played in my whole career. It's just a good thing I played well the first ten weeks. I won $900,000 and kept my card, so that's a good thing. I don't have to worry about that.

Q. Do you think the Ryder Cup had any influence in inspiring you to beat Vijay last week?

BERNHARD LANGER: No. Whenever you play against the No. 1 in the world, you want to play well, and I knew my chances were fairly slim to beat Vijay, certainly the way he's been playing the last few months, if not year and a half, but at the same time, I knew if I played very well, I might have a chance. I know the course fairly well, I've won three PGA Championships there, and as it turned out, I did win.

Q. If this has already been asked, is your mind geared more toward playing on the next Ryder Cup team than it is possibly being captain?

BERNHARD LANGER: I'm really not thinking about the next Ryder Cup right now because there's no relevance at the moment. We have 12 months to go until the Ryder Cup starts for Europe. It's not even that much on my mind right now. I'm still enjoying the last one, and next year I'm just going to try and focus on my own game. I want to get back into fitness and improve my game and hopefully be competitive out here.

Q. Do you still think you're fit enough, good enough, et cetera, to be able to --

BERNHARD LANGER: I'll be 49 when they play the next one, so I don't know. I've never been 49 before (laughter). I don't know what it feels like. I see guys like Jay Haas and a few others, Fred Funk, they made the team at a high age, and I think my career is every bit as good as theirs, so I don't see a reason why there is not a small chance for me to maybe make the team, as well.

Q. Your playing schedule next year, do you think it'll be about as many events as you've ever played?

BERNHARD LANGER: I'd probably like to go back to about 25 a year, 28, something like that. That's what I have done the last sort of ten years, 15 years, and that's a comfortable schedule for me.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, over there they're honorary memberships so I don't have to play my 11, and over here I've kept my membership since I rejoined the Tour.

Q. Ian Poulter is going to join this Tour, partly because he says there's more World Ranking points. Isn't that a self-fulfilling prophecy that the more European players that come over here the less points there will be in Europe?

BERNHARD LANGER: That's part of it. I think it's fair in the sense that whenever you compete against a stronger field, there should be more points, I agree with that. That has always been the argument over the last 20 years or whatever since they had World Rankings, whether it's fair, how the points are distributed. You know, there was too many in Europe, too many points, now the Europeans might complain there's too many points over here, so it's a difficult thing to balance.

I personally think the points are top-heavy. You get a lot of points for 1st and 2nd and then you go down to fifths and tenths and there's nothing there, and then you go further down. You could finish top 20 in every tournament and you wouldn't be very high in the World Rankings, yet you're probably the 20th best player in the world or something like that. That's where I think it's wrong.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: I think it should be a little bit less toward the top. You see the prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and then if you go down and finish 20th every week or 30th every week, you wouldn't be 20th or 30th on the Money List. You'd be way back.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: Right. If you finish 2nd one week and miss ten cuts, you make more than the guy who makes 10 times 20th. Which one is the better player?

Q. There should be some bigger payoff for winning.

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, that's the argument, but there's always an argument; winning you might have beaten three guys by one shot. Is that worth that much more than maybe finishing, as I said, ten times or five times, whatever it might be, in the Top 20? You have arguments about that.

Q. You have a schedule of like 25 events in the United States, so how many events --

BERNHARD LANGER: That's not in the United States. Worldwide, yeah.

Q. How many will be over here?

BERNHARD LANGER: I have no idea.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: I have to play that one. It's my sponsorship. My brother would be rather upset if I didn't go for that one.

Q. Any scheduled in Japan?

BERNHARD LANGER: Not right now. I'm trying to focus on America and Europe. I traveled for so many years all over the world, Australia and Japan and Asia. I did that for so long and it takes a toll. I've got four kids and a family. I need to spend some time with them.

Q. You've been around the game for a long time. Talk about the European team and all the young players. There's also Justin Rose and Jacobson who weren't on the team. What does that speak to the youth in Europe and what can you say about the youth deficit, if you will, in the U.S.?

BERNHARD LANGER: I'm not sure you have a youth deficit. You have a lot of good young players here for sure. You've got a great high school and college program. You've always had good young players, and there will be always good young players. I'm convinced of that, and you have some, too. It's just that you have a lot of good old players, too. You just have more depth, more to choose from. Europe has, whatever, 100,000 to choose from, you have a million to choose from, something like that. I don't know the precise numbers, but I would think that's what it comes down to.

Right now we have a handful of very good players, guys like even Jacobson and Cejka, who I had to leave out, I don't know how old they are exactly, but they're still reasonably young and very good players, too. But you've got plenty over here.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: But you have other guys, Zach Johnson and others who are very, very good players. They'll be there one day.

Q. (Inaudible).

BERNHARD LANGER: You won't believe what happened. I got a putter but I had to reglue it because the hosel was twisted, too much offset, so I changed it to where I wanted it. They were trying to get it done because there was a bit of a problem with it, so I got it reglued by the person that was there who had to leave at 4:00 o'clock. The trucks were all out early, so there was one truck left, one person, and he did it for me until 5:30, he was working on it, and he said it will hold. So this morning, I go, oh, it's good. So I putted for four holes and the head came loose, it started moving. I had to play three holes with a loose head and then had to switch.

I told the referee and first asked -- I didn't get mad, I didn't do anything. I said, "it just came loose, whether it was the heat or whatever," and he took it and said, "this thing is loose." He said I could change it if I want but it'll take us a while because I was at the far end of the course.

Q. What did you do?

BERNHARD LANGER: He did it himself. Strange things happen in this game.

End of FastScripts.

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