March 24, 2001
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
BERNHARD LANGER: Certainly, the last two days I've played very well and scored quite well. The course is extremely difficult right now, with the swirly winds. And the greens are getting very firm in some places, and the rough is extremely severe, so there's no room for error out here.
Q. You seem to be putting really well.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I like fast greens; never been a friend of slow greens. So those are my kind of greens.
Q. Is there a key out there, something that kept your round going?
BERNHARD LANGER: No. I just kept the ball in play. I drove it quite well, hit the fairway, hit the greens, and set myself up with chances. That's what you have to do. You've got to stay out of the long stuff, hit as many fairways and greens, and hopefully, roll a few in.
Q. When you went to the first tee today, did you say: Okay, the winds are right; okay, the conditions are right, the day that you are going to have to shoot 66, 67 in order to move yourself into contention?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I knew I needed a very good one to get into contention, because I was six behind starting the day. But at the same time, I knew it was very, very difficult. It's going to be tough out there. You have to be patient. You can't go out there and say, "Oh, I've got to birdie the first three out of six," and then you don't and you're totally depressed. So you just have to try to shoot the lowest score you can over 18 holes.
Q. You're the only European on the leaderboard right now. Is there any consolation? What did you attribute that to?
BERNHARD LANGER: That's not necessarily my goal to be low European. Right, I don't know what I contribute that to. Like I say, I've been playing fairly well, hitting a lot of solid golf shots in the last couple of days. And the short game has been fairly good, too. That just sums it up. That brings in low scores, usually.
Q. You've been in contention here over the year. Does something appeal about the golf course?
BERNHARD LANGER: What appeals to me is you have to think your way around a little bit. It's not what I call a bomber's golf course where you have tons of room and you just hit your driver 300 or whatever. I can't. I don't like those courses, you know, where the long hitters can just hit it way out there, and even if they hit it a little crooked, they can find it and hit it again. There's so much trouble around here that if you go a little off line with, whether it is with your driver or your irons, you know, you've got to be happy to make bogeys at some times. It's easy to rack up a double or triple really quick on any of the holes.
Q. Do you think the greens can get any faster tomorrow?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't think so. I think they are about as fast as they can be without losing them. Some of them are changing color out there. I think as soon as that last group has gone through, they are going to just water the high spots a little bit so they don't lose them.
Q. Three guys on the top of the leaderboard using the long putter, and you were the first of the three. Is that something you feel good about now?
BERNHARD LANGER: I just have no option at this stage. I've tried the short putter, and I'm just so terrible with it that I had to go to the long one. I wish I could go back to the short one, but right now I can't. So I might try again in the future.
Q. Is that something that you've talked to the other players about? Have you ever suggested to anybody?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not to too many. I always say it's easier with the shorter putter -- unless you have the yips or you have problems with the shorter one, then it is a help to go to the longer one. I think it's easier to putt with the shorter one.
Q. Can you give an example of just be willing to make bogey and forget about it?
BERNHARD LANGER: 18, such a bad lie. I misjudged the wind on the second shot and came up short, and I caught such a terrible lie in the rough down there. It actually rolled into an old divot, and I just could not get under the ball. It just came out low and hot. And then I faced a 60-foot putt for par, and I was more or less happy to 2-putt. So, it's a good 5 in the end, after a perfect tee shot.
Q. Some people have compared today's conditions to a U.S. Open. How would they compare in your mind?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, you can compare in that the rough is very high. If you hit it in there, you are going to lose a shot most of the time or lose a lot of distance. And the greens are very firm and very fast, and those are generally U.S. Open conditions.
Q. At this point, a good score today, on what we call moving day, what do you think you need to do tomorrow to have a chance?
BERNHARD LANGER: I have no clue right now. I have to play as good as I can, I suppose. I don't know where the leaders are going to finish, how far I'm going to be behind, but I have to go very, very low to win the golf tournament.
Q. When you think about tomorrow, do you think about how many players are in front of you or what your score needs to be or what the conditions are? What is on your mind in terms of your goal once you get into the final round?
BERNHARD LANGER: First of all, I'm going to think about how I can shoot the lowest score I can shoot and whatever that might be. Then, obviously, it's more important how many guys are ahead of me, because if there's only two guys ahead, it's maybe easier to catch them, than if I had 20 guys ahead of me being five shots behind. Because three or four or five out of the 20 will play well, but if there's only two, you never know what might happen to the two. But I'm not worrying about the other guys. I've got to play my own game and add it up on the 72nd hole and see what happens.
Q. Over your career, your scoring average here is still under par, which is impressive on this golf course. What do you attribute that to?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know what I contribute that to. I try to play smart golf. I have a good game plan. I play, at times, percentage golf, and usually my short game is pretty good, which is what you need on this golf course.
End of FastScripts....