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September 28, 2002

Bernhard Langer


GORDON SIMPSON: Bernhard, it's been a really exciting couple of days, and you've made a massive contribution. You and Monty seem to have knocked it off from the word "go."

BERNHARD LANGER: We've been having a wonderful partnership. We first played together in '91 and enjoyed each other's company. Then we played together again in '97, Valderrama, and did well there. And that was superb the last three matches here, too. We were actually never down, in all three matches. We were either up or level with the other team and that's obviously nice to be in that situation.

GORDON SIMPSON: Has that ever happened to you in all the Ryder Cups, to be at this stage, going into the singles and never having been behind?

BERNHARD LANGER: Probably not. Not that I can remember all of them. But I don't think that has ever been the case.

GORDON SIMPSON: He paid a very glowing tribute to you at the end of your match. He said if he's ever had a partner in the world to have, it would be you.

BERNHARD LANGER: That's very nice of him. But I think we both feel the same. I was thrilled to be with him. I told my captain, I'll play with anybody; whether he wants me or needs me, I'll be there. But I was thrilled to be paired with him. And as I said, we get along very well. We play the same golf ball, which is important in foursomes. We're used to that. And we just seem to gel well together. In the fourball we did extremely well. Whenever he wasn't quite there I came in. And when I was gone, he was there. And it worked out wonderfully.

Q. I'd like to address this to young Mr. Langer, what is the most fun for you being here watching your father play?

STEFAN LANGER: Probably the last match, there. Was pretty intense at the end, where they tied it all up with two holes left to go. And we got it back going by one point.

Q. Do you get nervous watching him when it gets to something like that?

STEFAN LANGER: A little bit. Not too much.

Q. Bernhard, with such a successful partnership that you had with Colin, what was the reason or could you tell us a bit more as to why it was split up?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, the main reason is that I didn't feel I should be playing five rounds. I've had a bit of an injury, which I woke up with on Thursday morning. I couldn't turn my head very well to the left. So I had a bit of a -- very tight muscle on my left side. And I was actually in question to even play yesterday morning, Friday morning, but I got some help from the physios and was able to play. It improved to where I was 90 percent good. But then as the day went on yesterday it tightened up again. I felt really good in the morning, but around 2 o'clock I felt some pain in there again and it gradually got stiffer and stiffer over the period of the day. And I figured if I do the same again today, if I'm out there ten hours again today or more, probably I wouldn't be in good shape for tomorrow.

Q. So you knew you were only going to play one round today; is that right?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, so I told Sam it was better to have me in one of the games, either this morning or this afternoon, and give me a little bit of a rest. I am the oldest guy on our team, and I think it was the wisest thing to do. Plus he needs to play everyone anyways. And I think that's the right way to go about it.

Q. He also says you're the fittest player?

BERNHARD LANGER: I'm not so sure about that.

Q. Colin often gets down on himself during a round of golf. How do you keep him lifted? Do you say much to him during the course?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, we talk, obviously. And I don't think he was down very much these last two days, anyways. He seemed very relaxed, even in the practice rounds. If he or if I see that he might have a tendency to get down, I won't let him, which is -- I've got to tell him, come on. We were 2-up today at one stage and we lost the two holes to go back to level and we walked off the green and I said, we lost some, but we're still level. We're not behind, we're level and we've got three holes to go, let's go get them. Let's play and win this thing. And he agreed. I'm not sure he was down, but all I'm saying is we look ahead; we don't look behind. We don't worry about what's happened, whether we lost a hole or won a hole. We look to the shots we face until it's over. That's all you can do.

Q. Given the circumstances, where would you rank that approach at the 17th, among the great shots that you've played in your career?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, fortunately I've had a long career and a successful one, so there have been a few good ones. But it was, I think, mentally very important to win the game, especially after yesterday. It would have been not much fun, having been 2-up again and coming into 18 and even losing the match or tying it again. So I was thrilled to see the ball start on-line. It was hit solid and I figured it should be within 10 or 12 feet of the flag, and it was. And then it just came down to basically reading the green correctly, because we've been both putting tremendously well. We've just misread a couple of putts, which is easy to do. But whenever we read them right, most of the time we made them, certainly from that distance. And that's exactly what happened. He put a great stroke on it and the ball went right in the hole.

Q. (Inaudible.)


Q. (Inaudible.)

BERNHARD LANGER: Mainly Peter had a look at some of them, too, not so much Andy.

Q. (Inaudible.)

BERNHARD LANGER: At first we thought it was right lip or inside right. But we looked at it again, and the -- they have these little mowers, one goes this way, and one comes the other way, and the majority of the one mower went sort of left-to-right across his line, and that was covered most of the ground from his ball to the hole. So we changed it from right lip or inside right to maybe right center, almost straight. And I think that was a wise thing to do.

Q. How long was that?

BERNHARD LANGER: I would guess somewhere near 10 feet, 8 to 10 feet; I'm not sure.

Q. A quick word on Sergio Garcia's performance so far here. What do you think he brings to your team?

BERNHARD LANGER: He brings a lot to our team. I played with him in the practice rounds and I was very impressed with this young man's game, unbelievable. He's -- he has a tremendous touch on the greens. He reads the greens very well on top of having a great stroke, hits the ball tremendous distance, very long. And very accurate and very straight and is confident. That's a very good combination to have. I said to Colin, because we played against him one of the practice rounds we had, and I said, boy, this young man is really -- can do some damage if he keeps this up. And he's doing it.

Q. He's popular out there. Everyone seems to enjoy watching him play. He seems to really enjoy the game himself, particularly this week, and also particularly he loves the duals he has with Tiger Woods?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, he doesn't seem to be intimidated at all by Tiger or whoever he's facing, and there's no need for him to be, because he has a very good game himself. And I think he's playing great at the moment and he can win a lot of great tournaments in the future and hopefully some majors, too, because he does have the game.

Q. How was the interchange between you and Colin and Scott and Scott?

BERNHARD LANGER: They were really a pleasure to play with, I have to say that. I've played against many of the Americans over the years and they're both very, very nice gentlemen and a pleasure to play against. They deserve to get something out of that match, because they played extremely well, both of them did. But they were extremely nice, that's all I can say. So my hat's off.

Q. In his tribute to you, Colin mentioned that if this were your last Ryder Cup it's been great. Have you indicated in any way that this might be or do you, yourself, think that this is the -- this is the swan song?

BERNHARD LANGER: I'm not going to limit myself. I don't know what time will bring and what's going to be in two years. I know the chances are very slim for me to be making anymore Ryder Cup teams because I live in America now. I play most of my golf over there and unless -- the only way for me to probably get on another Ryder Cup team would be to -- if they go off the world rankings that have a different, what do you say -- a different qualifying system would change. And I think we need to change it anyways, as I've said many times before. That's not for me; I think that's for the team in the future. I think we need the 12 best players. We don't want to play -- necessarily play a lot. And our system right now favors those players, because every pound you win is a point or every Euro you win is a point. So if someone plays 35 tournaments, you can win prize money 35 times. And there might be another player who plays 12 and wins a hundred Euros less, who is the better player? The one who played 12 or 35? That's what I'm saying is wrong with our system. I think we need to find a system that really gets the 12 best players on to the team and not maybe one or two or three guys who play a lot and play their way in that way.

Q. Do you think we have done well in the Ryder Cup in recent years, despite the system?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, we have done well, as you know. The record shows and proves that way. But we've also had a change in players playing in the U.S. I think we used to have three captain picks in the '80s, and then when all of us, I think it happened in '89, when all of us gave up our U.S. tour card, there was Seve, there was Faldo, Lyle, myself and a few others at the time, there was about five or six of us playing on the U.S. tour. And we all gave it up in '89 because they wouldn't change it from 15 to 12, the minimum number of tournaments. So we all gave up the card and we all played in Europe. We said we don't need three invites; we can go down to two, because we're all playing in Europe so there's no need. And now we have a totally different problem. There is not just five or six of us playing over there, there's about 12 to 20 over there, not full-time, but certainly half the time, which could cause a problem. And I just don't think that whoever is the captain should have to pick some of the best players as a pick. They should be in the team automatically. He should have to free him to pick someone else, like has been the case with Garcia and Parnevick in the past, he had to use the two picks to pick guys who don't play enough here, but they're certainly in the top 10 players coming out of Europe. And that's what I'd like see changed in the future. And hopefully there will be plenty of support for that.

Q. Nine Ryder Cups, each one has its own personality, just like a tournament every year has its own personality, could you describe your feelings with the galleries this year, how they embraced you?

BERNHARD LANGER: They've been awesome. They've been awesome most years. But they've just been tremendous, everywhere as soon as you walk off the tee or hit a decent shot they cheer. They're cheering when you walk along. They must have sore hands, they're just clapping the whole time, from tee box down to the green. And you can definitely tell by the noise level whether Europe won a hole or whether the Americans won a hole. And it's just fantastic. I think they've been very fair. I was out there obviously the last three matches and there's been very, very few occasions when I heard that somebody was actually excited that the Americans might have hit a bad shot or hit it in the water or something like that. You heard very, very little of that. And there's no need to do that. It's enough to cheer us on as loud as they do, and I think they've been very fair.

Q. When you become Ryder Cup captain, and quite possibly in four years time, would you plan to spend, during that Ryder Cup year, more time in Europe in order to know a little bit more about who's doing what, who's playing well, et cetera?

BERNHARD LANGER: Why do you say in four years time?

Q. I don't know.

BERNHARD LANGER: I was just wondering. I'm not -- I don't know what's going to happen in the future. Once this is over with and I have a bit of free time, I will give it some thoughts of whether I should put my name forward as a future captain, maybe even in two years time or whenever. And we'll see where the dice rolls and who they want as captain. But right now I haven't really seriously thought about it too much. But even living in America, and Florida, I have The Golf Channel, they show every single tournament over here. So you can be in touch. And I'm always going to play some tournaments over here, anyway. So that wouldn't be a problem.

Q. You mentioned earlier in the week that some occasions in the past have been a bit of gamesmanship. It seems to us it can't possibly be anything like that. Do you notice an overall change in the attitudes of the two teams towards one another, as it was 10, 12 years ago?

BERNHARD LANGER: I would like to say that, yes. I think there's definitely been a change of attitude. And I have to say that most of the time, most of the Ryder Cups I was involved in, which have been ten out of the last 11, that the players, themselves, were actually very good. There was very, very seldom anything where there was gamesmanship or somebody was trying to do something to the other guy, and very, very seldom. It was really pretty fair and pretty intense, but gentlemanlike. And that's the way it should be, I suppose. It is intense out there; don't get me wrong, even this year. It means a lot to us. We don't like to lose. Nobody likes to lose, and it means a lot to everyone out there. But the players are very fair to each other, and that's good to see.

End of FastScripts....

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