November 1, 2001
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us Bernhard. Great round today. 6-under par, 65. Why don't you give us some comments on your round then we'll go into some questions.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I hit the ball very well. Hit most of the fairways, only missed one green, and so I have hit the ball extremely well off the tee and then onto the green. Made one mistake when I hit a beautiful 3-iron into 4 to about 20 feet and 3-putted it, just too aggressive with the first putt. Actually hit a good second putt but it lipped out. So that was really the only mistake. Ended up bogeying a hole where I hit a great shot. But otherwise it was a very, very solid day.
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Questions.
Q. Just thoughts on the course, how it's playing, conditions?
BERNHARD LANGER: The course is fantastic. It's in beautiful conditions. The greens are magnificent. They are fast, they are firm. The ball rolls very nicely. The fairways are firm, so if you hit the fairways, you are going to get some run on it, but if you hit in the rough, it plays very long and punishing. You can't control the ball, you know, out of the rough. You get fliers sometimes and the ball squirts out, so it is important to keep the ball in the short grass.
Q. You haven't been here in a long time. Is it good to be back? Why the long absence? (Inaudible).
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I haven't been a member of the Tour for twelve years, so if you are not a member, you can't play. That's very simple. I opted or chose in 1989 to give up my membership here, after the long debate of cutting down the number of tournaments we have to play over here, which was 15 and still is 15, but that didn't change, so something had to give because I had to play 15 here and 11 there, which was too much. So that's the reason I hadn't been a member for many years. Now I have committed to play here again. I enjoy playing the U.S. tour. I always have, it's just at that stage in 1989 I had to decide which Tour I am going to play on. I couldn't do both. I have done both for five years and it just wore me out. It is just too much travel, too much jet lag, and -- but now I am committed again to play here; mostly here, a little bit in Europe, and so you are going to see more of me the next few years.
Q. Do you remember the first TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at all?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not a whole lot. It's been a long time. Obviously I remembered being there, but I don't remember any details.
Q. Why are you playing so good in year? Any reason?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, a lot of people say why am I playing so good? I have played like this for many, many years. It is just the last two or three years I hadn't played quite this well and now I feel I am playing again the way I played from 1985 through 1995 or 1997. I played very good golf. The main thing playing better this year than the last two or three, I think, basically, I got 14 new clubs in my golf bag compared to last year, all 14 clubs are new, and I am playing a different golf ball. I switched from Titleist to Strata and I am very happy with the equipment I am playing with. Otherwise I haven't changed a great deal. Still got the same coach. I work out the same way. Nothing has changed. I am still married to the same woman, have four kids.
Q. Contacts are being worn during this tournament and are you -- you are so relaxed with your putting now. Has that also made a difference?
BERNHARD LANGER: Sure, putting is the biggest part on the Tour because we can all hit the ball, we can all hit greens and fairways every once in a while. But it comes down to who makes the most putts. My putting has been a little better this year too. I have got a new putter. I feel I am putting a little better and I wasn't that far off. The last few years it only needed one or two shots a day, but it is a lot when you play four rounds, that's a lot of shots.
Q. What about the contacts, are you wearing your contacts for this tournament?
BERNHARD LANGER: Contact lenses?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, yeah, I have been wearing contact lenses for twelve years now.
Q. I thought you changed recently and it's helped --
BERNHARD LANGER: It wasn't me. No, I played -- 1990 I played in glasses and then I didn't like that, so switched to contact lenses. I have been wearing them ever since.
Q. Was it a difficult decision when you decided to come on the Tour full-time, and what was the biggest reason?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, it wasn't that difficult. I have actually been contemplating it for the last three, four years because we have you know, my kids go to school in Florida and we have maintained a home there for a number of years now. So I finally gave up my -- well, I didn't give up my Tour card in Europe, but I am going to spend more time in America and decided to be more around the family, do less travelling, and that should make it easier on my health, I should see my family more often, and all that should be good for me.
Q. You have lived in Florida for a long time?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, my first residence was always in Germany. We have just been in Florida for a few months here and there, but now we are going to spend the majority of the time in Florida.
Q. Are you as motivated as you were in your younger days, still seem to work very hard?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, I think I am just as motivated as I was. I may not putt the hours if I did when I was 18 or 20 but I still putt a lot of work into the game and I enjoy it. I love being competitive. I enjoy being out there competing with the other guys and it's great fun when you are having a good year.
Q. The big win in Europe recently, has that been that confidence boost that you have also been looking for?
BERNHARD LANGER: Why, sure, I mean, what breeds confidence? Success breeds confidence, I think. I have won the Dutch Open in July after having finished third in the British Open and then won the Linde German Masters just three weeks ago, and obviously, that helps the confidence and you just think a little better and you believe that you can do it.
Q. What is it about you and your game that makes you play so well in the bigger events?
BERNHARD LANGER: I really don't know. I think I enjoy playing golf courses which have fast greens. I enjoy courses where you have to maneuver the ball a little bit and think your way around, and not just tee it up, blast it as far as you can, find it and hit it again. Those are not my favorite golf courses. I like courses where you have got to hit a few draws, a few fades, you have to think your way around a little bit, and like here, on this golf course, the greens are huge, but with these greens, there's small pockets and you have got to hit the proper shot to get it near the hole; otherwise, you are going to have 50, 60-foot putts all day long and you are going to make 3-putts if you do that.
Q. Where would Augusta fall in that category for you?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, Augusta is one of my favorite courses because, again, you have to think where you want to hit your second shots so you have a reasonable putt. You can't just, you know, hit it out there, and Augusta, it's better to have a 30-footer uphill than an 8-footer downhill. Those are the type of courses I enjoy.
Q. Being a world-class player for 15 years; now as a comeback player, does that sound kind of weird, make you feel old?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not really. I know my age and I have no problems with it. I have enjoyed being out here. I know there is not a lot of guys in their 40s or mid-40s who are very competitive, but there's a few of us. You have got Scott Hoch, you have got Nick Price, Sutton, Norman and all - only a handful, or something like that, but that is the way it is. You are not going to get someone who's been mediocre to suddenly blossom in the mid-40s. It's the guys that have been dominating the game before that will continue to dominate it, I think, or still have a good season or many years as they get older. We saw Jack win, when did he win the Masters, at 46, and Floyd was one of those guys that had a long career, Hale Irwin. Hopefully, I will be one of those, too.
Q. Everybody likes to win, but is there something to be said for having solid consistent years even without the benefit of victory on this Tour?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I don't know if there is something to be said about it. But it just -- I think getting here without winning just shows that I have had a lot of good finishes and I came close to winning, and I think it's only a matter of time when I am going to win over here again. If I put myself in the position often enough, it is going to happen sooner or later.
Q. After this week, what is your schedule like?
BERNHARD LANGER: I will start the 2002 season - looks like I am going to take all of January off and probably start sometime in February. So I still have got three or four events to go this year, so I need a break. I need about six to eight weeks off, then come back and get going again.
Q. How many will you play over here in '02?
BERNHARD LANGER: I have to play 15 minimum, so I would think somewhere between 15 and 20, but I am not sure. It depends what I am getting into, you know, this year I got into all the World Golf Championships and it looks like I am going to get into them next year again, so all those count and again, THE TOUR Championship is an extra one that wasn't definitely planned because you can't plan it until you qualify.
Q. If you won this week would you be tempted to play the Mercedes?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, I would play, but otherwise obviously I wasn't going to play any of the other events, probably my first one might be San Diego, but I am not sure yet. But if I win here I will play, yes.
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you very much.
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