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October 28, 2009

Bernhard Langer


DAVE SENKO: Well, Bernhard, thank you for joining us. Last event of the year, and still in the hunt for the Charles Schwab Cup coming off I guess your last four straight top-10 finishes coming in here. Maybe just talk a little bit about where you are with your game and we'll get some questions.
BERNHARD LANGER: Okay. Well, the game has been pretty decent. Pretty close to playing pretty good, like I did earlier in the year when I had a big lead in the Schwab Cup.
Just making a few mistakes here and there. You know, every day there's one thing, one bad swing or a couple of bad decisions or whatever. When you add it up, then you're three or four shots behind the leader at the end of the tournament.
So just gotta get rid of those, whether it's mental errors or bad swings or reads or judgments, whatever it is. Eliminate some of those mistakes and just score one or two shots better a day, and then I'll be right back.

Q. You played here last year. How is the course right now?
BERNHARD LANGER: The course is phenomenal. Beautiful fairways and tees, and the greens are very good. Last year we had some bad luck with the rain and the weather. Hopefully the forecast looks better this year and we'll stay dry.
It's in very, very good shape.

Q. Tom Kite made a comment earlier that these greens, you know, you have to be in the right place on these greens. You can't be two-putting too many of these greens out here. What's your take on the greens? How do you approach the greens?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, we know they're fast and have quite a bit of slope to them. So as Tom says, you need to try and hit your second shot or your approach shot in a place where you can have a putt for birdie. Where you can have a putt at it.
If you hit it in the wrong playing, you're gonna struggle. I think that's, you know, a good feature about a well-designed golf course. Where it's not just a big flat green, but there are certain pockets or areas that make you think.
First of all, you benefit if you hit the fairway because you can put more spin on your second shot and control your distance better. So if you're already in the rough, you're struggling to get it somewhere near the hole.
And then if you miss the green, you gotta miss it in the right place to have any chance to get it up-and-down. Because there's some places there's no way you're gonna get it up-and-down unless you hole a 40-foot putt or something.

Q. Four guys are still in the running for the championship. Do you allow yourself to think about that, or it is a thing where you just want to take it round by round and see where you stand Sunday?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well' you're allowed to think about it. The bottom line is we still have four rounds of golf to play.
Again, I think whoever wins the tournament out of those four has a good chance to win the Schwab Cup as well. So first things first. You gotta do the business first and try and win the tournament, and then the rest will happen. I don't think you want to be out there thinking about it constantly every shot.
You just gotta play the golf course as good as you can, and hopefully at the end of week you'll be on top of the tournament and that will take care of the rest.

Q. In terms of your year, I'm looking at 15 Top 10s in 20 events. That's just amazing consistency you've had over all the years in your career. Can you attribute that to anything?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I think you contribute it in my case to just being a fairly good driver of the ball, fairly good iron player, not having a real weakness.
You know, on any given day, when you look at the statistics as well, I'm up there in driving reasonably well and up there in hitting greens in regulation, which helps. I'm even up there in putting and other things.
So if you're fairly good at everything, you should eliminate some bad scores and some bad tournaments. I think that's one of the reasons I'm having a lot of success finishing in the top 10 a lot, because I'm pretty consistent in all those areas.

Q. In your younger years, you did a lot of different things with putters and grip and everything. Have you ever been through any changes like that with your swing?
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm constantly changing and working on my swing, yeah, all my life. But not drastically. You see Nick Faldo, when he -- he had a period there where he overhauled his whole swing, changed everything.
I never did that, but I constantly work on improving my swing. Constantly make small changes, some are bigger and some are smaller, where I just try to get better at it.
That's been the story of the last, you know, 35 years. And it's always gonna continue that way, too.

Q. It's there in everybody's game, but your swing, you've been such a consistent producer. I'm a little surprised at that, honestly.
BERNHARD LANGER: I can see where you're coming from. People don't know that, but my coach, Willie Hoffman, a German guy, he told me years ago, I'm not gonna change your grip.
Because my grip is a little bit on the strong side. So we'll just work with your grip and make it a strength instead of a weakness and built the swing around it.
But when I grew up, I was swinging very much a reverse C. You know, where's I was -- that's what we kind of learned from even Jack Nicklaus and some of those guys who were the big stars. That was taught.
Now, I don't want to have a reverse C. I'm thinking totally different. Trying to cover the ball and squeeze it out of there and not trying lifting it.
So over the years my swing has totally changed. Might not look that different to the naked eye, but if you have a camera and look in slow motion, it's different.

Q. How do you feel physically at the end of the year? Any aches and pains?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, there's always something hurting pretty much, but most of all I feel okay. I've had some shoulder issues, left shoulder issues the last year, year and a half. Nothing really serious at this point. I'm trying to strengthen it and work out with it.
Probably gonna try and take care of it these next two months when I'm off, and hopefully we'll get it to a point where it feels more stable and stronger. If not, we have to deal with it in the future.
In general, nothing usual. I've had a bad lower back for 30 years. I hurt my back when I was 18, so that's 35 years ago. Just do a lot of stretching and working out and try and keep in shape.

Q. The back injury, wasn't that a military injury?
BERNHARD LANGER: That's correct. I had a stress fracture and two bulging disks when I was 18 or 19 in the military.

Q. And you never had surgery for it?
BERNHARD LANGER: Nope. Never had surgery. They wanted to cut on me, but I wouldn't let them at the time and still avoided it to this day.

Q. That's even more remarkable when you think about adding to it with all the golf swings over the years.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I got a few ailments. Like my neck is very degenerative. I can't turn my head more than this. So when I make a backswing, my head has to go this way. I can't keep it down.
I can keep it down following through, so to the left I have more rotation than to the right, which is a little harder for my backswing.
But, again, those are the things you just need to deal with and find a way to make it work.

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