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November 22, 2008

Bernhard Langer


RODDY WILLIAMS: Bernhard, thanks very much for coming in and joining us. It really was a terrific round out there. Talk us through it.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it was kind of a very strange day. I started off bogeying the first. I hit my second shot in the bunker, but it was an easy bunker shot and just left it a little short and then left the putt short on-line.
Had a few chances. Should have birdied No. 3. I was right on the fringe and didn't get it up-and-down. Had a couple other chances. Nothing went my way, so I'm 1-over after five holes.
Then on 6, I hit a bad tee shot. Actually it was probably my first bad shot. Drove it in the bunker and took 7-iron and hit it to two feet, so made the birdie.
Next one, I hit another bad shot into the fairway bunker, hit 7-iron and holed it. So I'm going with two 7-irons out of the fairway bunker to birdie, eagle.
Then hit a terrific shot on 8 to about five feet with a 5-iron and got up-and-down par on the and birdied 10 again and had a trouble 3-putt on 13 from nowhere. Then had a string of birdies after that.
So played some superb golf and finally made a few putts. So the first to days, I played pretty good, as well. Just didn't make anything.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Obviously this is now on The European Tour, but you've had great success on the Champions Tour; are you surprised to see yourself right up on the top of the leaderboard?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, a little bit but not too much, because I've had a very good year. I've won four times this year, and the Champions Tour is very competitive. There's a lot of great players, and this course kind of suits me because it's not that long.
I'm not a long hitter, so it's more about precision and being straight and maneuvering the ball a little bit. You have to hit a few cuts and a few draws, and that's kind of my game. When I play well, I can do that well. It's just a matter of making the putts.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Very well played today, and let's take some questions, please.

Q. We know this week, Stefan is going to caddie for you. Does it make any difference between your professional caddie, regular caddie than your son?
BERNHARD LANGER: Very little. He's just as good with everything except I don't ask him what club to hit. With my professional caddie, I sometimes discuss whether hitting a 6-iron or 7-iron. I don't really ask him and I don't put him under that pressure, and that wouldn't be fair because he only caddies for me once a year or twice a year. He really doesn't know. He probably has a good idea, but it wouldn't be fair to ask him, so I just make my own decisions.
But everything else, he's every bit as good. Good at raking bunkers and care egg the bag and cleaning the ball and all that kind of stuff.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You're not going to say it was him that picked those two 7-irons, are you?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, probably not.

Q. How do you feel being up on the leaderboard amongst all of those youngsters?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, it's fun. It's always great to be up on the leaderboard. It's always great to be in contention. That's what we practice for and that's what we work for to have a chance on Sunday afternoon to win the golf tournament.
That's why the Champions Tour is so much fun for me because I get in contention on a regular basis and not just three or four times a year.

Q. Will you take any sort of special game plan into tomorrow or what will you be thinking, much like today, just see what happens?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think my game plan is pretty much that I'm going to attack certain holes and going to play a little more conservative some other holes, just depends what the golf course gives me and the pin placements and how well I'm striking the ball.

Q. Play for a few more 7-irons.
BERNHARD LANGER: That would be a good idea. As I was telling my son, maybe I should hit more fairway bunkers; aim for those, and I seem to be doing pretty good out of those.

Q. Colin Montgomerie made a similar comment that you did, that he also favours a shorter course. Do you think that players from an older generation like you have trouble adapting to newer, longer courses?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, of course. It's not about adapting. I just can't hit the ball as far as the youngsters. It's just common sense. Doesn't matter what I do. I'm not going to drive it 330, 350, like some of these guys do.
There are certain golf courses on the regular tour where I just don't have much chance because I'm so much shorter than some of the long bombers out there. But on a course like this one, I think I can compete quite well if my game is okay.

Q. Just wondering whether or not winning on the Champions Tour sort of reinvigorated you and got you back in the mode of winning and put you in a position where you feel like you know you can win more.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it always helps to win, and that's kind of what I missed a little bit from when I turned about 44, 45, through 49. It was difficult to win. I won the World Cup there, and I won the whatever else, the Volvo Masters which I tied with Colin one year, but they were very few and far between.
On the PGA Tour where I spent most of my time the last ten years, it was very difficult to win. I lost a playoff last year on the PGA Tour at the Colonial. So I was knocking on the door here and there, and I've been playing quite solid golf, but certainly the courses on the Champions Tour suit my game much more.

Q. You have a good chance now to become the oldest winner on The European Tour. Where would that rank amongst your achievements?
BERNHARD LANGER: It's difficult to say where it would rank. I've had such a long and wonderful, successful year in the cents that there's been so many good things happening to me over the 33 years that I've been playing golf as a pro, that it's difficult to put it in any rankings.
Obviously the two Masters win and The Ryder Cup and the captaincy and all of that stands out; winning my own tournament four times is pretty special to me; winning a tournament open, those kind of things probably take a higher priority than winning at 51. But it would certainly be very special, that's for sure.

Q. You're 51, right?

Q. How do you maintain your fitness to be in contention with the other young players?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I'm not so sure it's all about fitness. Look at John Daly, he doesn't work out. (Laughter). He can compete. You look at Craig Stadler, he doesn't work out and he can compete.
I look after myself. I enjoy working out. I do a lot of stretching. I enjoy practicing and I just enjoy playing the game of golf. I'm not extremely fit or whatever. I'm just trying to stay in shape. I haven't gained a lot of weight the last 20, 30 years, and I'd like to keep it that way. I feel better, I have more energy, and hopefully play better golf, too.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Bernhard, thank you very much. Extremely well played today, and good luck tomorrow.

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