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April 24, 2009

Bernhard Langer

Tom Lehman


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Tom Lehman, Bernhard Langer, 29, 32, 61 and 11-under par. Right now tied for the lead at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. You got off to a fast start, 29 on the front. And Berhard, I guess you had a nice hole-out on No. 9. Maybe a few comments about your day playing together, and then we'll go through any long birdie putts, good saves or hole-outs.
BERNHARD LANGER: First of all, it was a lot of fun being out there with Tom, and it was a nice paring with Tom Watson and Andy North as well. I think we both played quite well. We got off to a good start, hit a lot of solid drives, a lot of solid shots, got it going and made maybe one hiccup or two, 11, especially.
But I sort of had it going in the middle of the round a little bit, and then Tom pulled me home the last five or six holes, so that was pretty awesome. We hammered it fairly good, but as I said, the only mistake we probably made was not to birdie 11 after two perfect tee shots.
TOM LEHMAN: I mean, yeah, that's exactly right. We hit it close a lot. I think there's always a couple turning points in the round. I think one turning point for us in the round was the sixth hole. I drove it up against the tree and had to play it out sideways, and Berhard made a birdie.
Whenever you kind of are out of the hole and your partner makes a birdie, I always consider it to be a huge emotional boost for the team. So I felt that was an important hole. Then the hole-out on the course on 9 was nice, and had a little but of a lull for the next few holes where we had some chances and missed, but finished strong. So all in all it was a very good day.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Berhard, can you tell us about the hole-out at nine?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, drove it in the left rough, and had about 130, which is a big pitching wedge for me, and I thought if I catch it solid and on line, it shouldn't be too far away, and it turned out that I ended up perfect.
It was kind of rolling towards the right edge of the cup, and then it sort of disappeared, and by the reaction of the crowd, I actually thought it lipped out because everybody asked, did that go in? I said, well, I think it lipped out, because we couldn't see the ball. And as we got closer, we obviously saw it was right in the cup. And that was a bit of a boost, especially birdieing 8 as well, which is not a simple hole there. So go on and birdie eagle on those two holes and then we just kind of fell asleep a little bit on the next three, but Tom played very well coming home the last few holes, and that was key for us to keep the momentum going.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Did you have any putts that you made for birdie longer than 20 feet or any good saves during the round.
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't think we made any long ones. My memory is leaving me already.
TOM LEHMAN: Bernhard made a couple of really nice, I would say, 15-footers for birdie.
We really didn't have any par-saving putts the entire day that I can think of. No. So it was a pretty stress-free round. Hit it close a lot, had a lot of birdies inside of five feet.
I mean of the 11 birdies or the nine birdies that we made out there, I would think that at least six of them came from inside of five feet.
BERNHARD LANGER: Tom made a lot of putts that were really, really close. There's probably three or four that looked really good up to about three feet away and then they just went one way or another or the pace wasn't quite right. But there was a lot of other opportunities that one or two might have gone in, and it was just not happening today. But we didn't struggle on any holes to make pars or any of that stuff.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. We'll just go to questions.

Q. Tom, how close were you on 17 and what did you hit in there?
TOM LEHMAN: It was a 4-iron, 208 yards, I think, or something like that. And I think it could have been more than -- I think it was inside of three feet maybe. Maybe two feet, 11 inches. I'll make the call.

Q. Your playing partners shoot 66, and they asked them afterwards what's it going to take to get back into it. They said two rounds at 50. You play individual stroke play, a 66 is a tremendous round. Is it much of an adjustment to your thinking when you hear something like that?
TOM LEHMAN: I guess I missed the question.

Q. That 66 is a bad score.
TOM LEHMAN: Oh, yeah. You shoot 66, you're unhappy for sure. And you don't always have to play poorly to shoot 66. There's days when you just can't quite get the momentum going and the putts don't drop, and the opportunities that you have, you miss.
I've always believed that golf is as much about handling disappointment than anything else, and it gets especially difficult in a team format when the putts aren't dropping. So you can go around and shoot 66 and walk off the course and just go, I don't know how we possibly did that. We drove it well. We hit our irons pretty solid, and just couldn't get a putt to drop, and therefore you're so frustrated.

Q. Welcome back to Savannah. We talked last Sunday, and you said you were going to be playing with Tom for the first time. It's working out okay, I guess, right now. Is there any kind of adjustments you're making in terms of personalities or communication out there? Is there anything you guys are having to feel your way around together?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah. Berhard was talking way too much today. (Laughs).
BERNHARD LANGER: No. I think beforehand we just had to determine who hits first, and I asked Tom. He said he'd be happy to hit second, and that suits me fine. I like going first.
And we'd read putts together most of the time, which I think is good because you have another experienced pair of eyes looking at your putt, and it just gives you the assurance that what you see is correct most of the time.
Otherwise, I think, you know, we've been friends for a long time. We know each other. We like each other, and that's why we're here.

Q. Some of the groups that came through earlier said it's going to take 10 or 12-under, at least, in each round to keep up. Is that something you feel like is a conservative estimate or is that about right?
BERNHARD LANGER: Probably if the weather stays where it is, I would think it would take about 10-under every day because you have some very strong pairings out here. There's at least 10 or 15 extremely strong pairings that can shoot any number, any low number, so if the weather stays as calm as it was today, that's what it's going to take.
TOM LEHMAN: There's definitely a really low score out there on the golf course. We shot 11-under today, but I think you can definitely go lower. I'm not talking just by a shot or two. I think there's a 14-under out there, with the way the course is conditioned, and the weather. So somebody will do it, I think.

Q. Tom, this is your debut on the senior circuit, is it not?
TOM LEHMAN: Uh-huh. It is.

Q. Is there any significance to that?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah. He's 50. (Laughs).
TOM LEHMAN: You know, it's a good event to start, I think. I can't think of a better tournament to start with in the Champions Tour. Team events are so much fun, and there's obviously a great bunch of guys here this week, a lot of guys that I saw Monday and Tuesday that I haven't seen in a long time, guys like Bob Toski and people like that. So it's a nice event to kind of break yourself into the Tour on.

Q. Do you feel comfortable out there on the course? Did you like the way it played?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah. I thought it played very well. The greens are exceptional. Obviously they've spent a lot of time working on these greens to get them in the condition they are. They're rolling quite true. The speed is just about right. They're not super fast, but they're not slow either, so you're able to be a little aggressive with it.
So I think overall -- but the course definitely gives you some opportunities. If you drive the ball well here, you're going to have a lot of shortest irons into the greens and the par-5s are for the most part reachable.
So that's why I say there's a really low score out there somewhere.
BERNHARD LANGER: The course is in the best condition -- I mean I've only played it last year, but I can't see it in any better condition. It's definitely better than what it was last year. From even the tees to the fairways to the rough and everything is very uniform, very top shape, and the greens are excellent, so it couldn't get any better than what it is.

Q. Is there anything about this golf course in particular that lends itself to the full-throttle nature of team golf where you can play birdie on every hole and be very aggressive?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, there's a lot of greens that give you the chance to recover, you know, so it's not like if you miss a green, you're going to find yourself in a position where you're kind of dead. There are some spots like that, but for the most part I see that there's -- if you miss a green, there's a lot of opportunity to chip in or get the ball up and down, which really kind of makes it so both partners can be aggressive. That's kind of the way I see it.
Both partners can be really aggressive knowing that there's a chance to recover if you hit it rolling.

Q. This is probably the least wind we've had all week. It's been kind of windy, and of course, it can whip up very quickly right here on the river. You guys are both used to playing at the British Open where it can really get breezy. Do you think that helps you out in situations like that?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think all these guys out here they've played tournament golf for so many years. They've all played in wind. We get wind in Florida, California, whether you live in Scottsdale or wherever you are, it's windy. None of the players in this field -- they're all legends. They've all been around for a long time and they've all experienced wind. So I don't think we're scared of wind, but neither are the other guys. It just makes it a lot harder.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Good luck tomorrow. Thank you.
TOM LEHMAN: Thank you.

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