June 10, 2001
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you for taking some time with us today. Maybe just a couple thoughts on your round, and then we'll open it up for questions.
BERNARD LANGER: I played pretty solid all week long. I gave myself opportunities and basically drove the ball quite well the last two or three days. Set myself up for chances and it was just a matter of making some putts or not. Made a couple earlier on today, and then I had two birdie chances on the last two holes and left them -- well, 17, I left short. It was straight downhill, and I thought there was no way I was going to leave it short and I did. 18, I had a right-to-lefter, maybe about 12 feet and just missed it low, a little bit low and a little bit soft on the cut. It looked like Bob hit a great shot in there anyways, and he might birdie that one to have a two-shot lead.
Q. There was an awful lot of major title winners out there in the final few groups. What do you think about how Estes performed -- knowing that all that was out there -- playing with him?
BERNARD LANGER: I thought he did extremely well. It's always tough to lead all four days, with all of the stuff that's going on, and he obviously had a brilliant round on Thursday and was in the lead the whole week. Even though there were a number of guys who got close to him or even caught him at times, he was hanging on and obviously performing very well in the end to win the championship.
Q. We talked down at the 18th, but is this the best four-round performance you've put in this year?
BERNARD LANGER: That's a difficult one, because I've had some good ones. I thought TPC, I played very well; certainly, the last three days, played very well. I opened up with a 73 and finished two shots behind Tiger in the end. So I had three very good days. Hilton Head, I had four solid rounds. Finished one shot behind the leaders. And again, there were four pretty good rounds. It's difficult to compare, because you play different golf courses, different conditions, different fields, so it is hard to say which is better.
Q. How much more difficult was the golf course today than it was Thursday, or was there a marked change other than the wetness?
BERNARD LANGER: Well, it actually played shorter today because you got some run on the golf ball, which helps me because I don't carry the ball as far as John Daly and a few others. I would rather have it play the way it played today, where the tee shot runs 15, 20 yards here and there and makes it a little shorter. Obviously, teeing the ball up, or playing preferred lies helps on some shots, because you can put it up there where you can hit driver off the fairway if you need to or 3-wood, whatever; you always have a perfect lie. Yesterday I had six balls with mud on it, which didn't help. But today, there was no problem at all. I think it was -- the pins were pretty tough today, pretty difficult to get to. And the conditions was perfect all week. There was very little wind. Nice and warm. Very good conditions to play.
LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you take us through your birdies real quick. Birdie on 2, I believe.
BERNARD LANGER: Yeah, I hit driver on 2. Hit a lob-wedge to about 30 feet behind the hole and made that one. Then 7 was, again, a driver, 6-iron to about 12 feet. 10 was a driver. Clipped the trees; came straight down in the rough. Hit a 4-iron to the back edge and made a 15-foot putt. 13, that was a driver and a 5-iron. Almost went in, but then it rolled through the green. Hit the downslope and just rolled through the green. I putted up the bank and made the putt from about three yards off the green. Probably about 20 feet all together. Then 16 was a driver, 3-wood. Pitch shot from about 30 yards. Again, a 25-foot putt.
Q. With John Daly and Curtis Strange and Nick Price and Faldo and you all around the leaderboard, did you feel like you had gone back to 1991 or something?
BERNARD LANGER: Well, it's nice to see some of the older folks up there, the experienced guys. But there were some very big names up there, and they all played well, which is nice to see. So, you had a good mixture of, you know, 40-year-olds and younger guys. You throw John Daly in there and a couple others; I think it was very good.
Q. If you could just assess how you feel about your season to this point and how you feel from this point forward on the season, if you are pretty comfortable with all phases of your game?
BERNARD LANGER: I'm pretty happy with my season. I changed equipment. Went with Ben Hogan and the Strata ball and have been very happy with it. I've played 11 tournaments here now, and before this week, I was about $940,000, so I had some good tournaments. Overall, there have been a lot of solid, good tournaments. I just haven't won yet. Hopefully, that will happen soon.
Q. What's your immediate schedule the next few weeks?
BERNARD LANGER: Playing the U.S. Open next week. Then I'm taking two weeks off, I believe. Then I play a little bit in Europe. The European Open, the Scottish Open and the British Open. Maybe even the Dutch, I don't know yet. Then I'll come back for the PGA Championship and maybe one or two more later in the year.
Q. How do you feel about the U.S. Open, going into that?
BERNARD LANGER: Well, if I play similar to what I played this week, hopefully I'll be one of the contenders. But we never know. The conditions are going to be different. It will probably be very tight fairways again with lots of rough. So you need to drive the ball well and hit a lot of good long iron shots. So that's what I'm going to try and work on. Practice my putting and hopefully make a lot of 10-, 15-foot putts, which you're going to have some for par and some for birdies.
Q. It looks like John Daly has things under control right now; he's playing well. Is that good for the game? Is it good for the Tour for him to be playing well?
BERNARD LANGER: Definitely. It's great for the game of golf, and certainly for him personally, and also for the Tour. I think it is wonderful to see him back in the groove. I played with him earlier on in San Diego and one other place, and I thought he was hitting the ball quite well there. It looks like he just has his life more under control, and certainly his golf game is looking pretty sharp at the moment.
Q. Next week there's over a 600-yard par 5 and almost a 500-yard par 4 and a couple long par 4s. Do you think that's the way a golf course should be set up for a major championship?
BERNARD LANGER: I don't think they need to be, but I guess that's the way we are going. The equipment is going further. The guys work out more, and everybody hits the ball further. So the only way for some tournaments to make it difficult is to either make it really narrow or really long. That's the way it's been going. They changed par 5s into par 4s to bring the scores down. I personally have no problem with a winning score of 16-under par or whatever. People want to see birdies. They want to see good golf. I don't think it needs to be even par or 2-under, but that's the way they have always done it and that's the way it is going to continue, I suppose.
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