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May 26, 2010

Bernhard Langer


KELLY ELBIN: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the 71st Senior PGA Championship here at Colorado Golf Club. World Golf Hall of Fame member and Masters Champion Bernhard Langer is joining us this morning. This will be Bernhard's third Senior PGA Championship. His best finish was second place in 2008 at Oak Hill. You had two wins on the Champions Tour, four other top-10 finishes, I would imagine you probably feel pretty good about your game coming into the first Major on the Champions Tour.
BERNHARD LANGER: Thanks, I had a pretty decent start and fairly happy with my game, so I'm looking forward to this week and it's always fun being in a Major. And everybody's here, all the great players, so try to look forward to the competition.
KELLY ELBIN: You played in the pro-am yesterday, first chance I would imagine to play the golf course. Initial thoughts on Colorado Golf Club.
BERNHARD LANGER: I played a few holes on Monday. I tried to play a few holes. Let's put it this way. It was pretty hilarious actually some of the shots. So I gave up after about 10 holes and sent my caddie and my clubs in and just walked the course.
But yesterday was more playable. I got a little bit of a feel an idea how to play the course. And what the elevation does and all that. So I look forward to one more day today to hopefully be ready by tomorrow.
KELLY ELBIN: Very good. Thank you. Let's open it up for questions.

Q. How do you go about learning a new golf course and simultaneously preparing for a Major Championship? I know you go through a routine for preparation for a Major, but then having to throw in a course that nobody knows is kind of interesting as well.
BERNHARD LANGER: It's like that with every new venue that we play. So you do your preparing before hand or out on the driving range. You do it before and after play and in the bunkers and the chipping green and putting green. That's when you do the practicing and the preparing.
Then you go out on the golf course and you just make mental notes or write some stuff in the yardage books. And out here it's a little harder than the average course because you have some blind shots so you have to figure out where is the middle of the fairway, what kind of mountain or something in the distance do I aim at to hopefully be on the short grass. And play the course a couple of times to see whether it could be a three wood off the tee or driver or whatever club it might be. What's the best angle to come into the greens and the flattest lies.
And I think one big part here is to just figure out what club to hit. Because most of us are not used to elevation. So you are standing on the fairway and you're saying you have 176 and it's always uphill, downhill too. So you got 176, now it's probably seven downhill, so you got 169. Then you take 10 percent for the elevation, now you got 153. And then you have wind against you, 10 and now back to 163.
So, I'm not being funny, this is actually what goes through our minds out there. So you have to calculate four different things on just about every shot, until you come to the conclusion of what number it is. And then that's the number to the pin. But you might land it at the pin because the greens are kind of firm, so you got to look at the green and figure out do I really want to land it 10 short of that or eight short of that or whatever. So now you subtracting that again. So you're dealing with five different numbers now.
And then you hopefully pull the right club and commit and all that kind of stuff. Especially I find with the elevation it's hard when it's cold the ball doesn't go any further. Yet when it's warm it can go 10 percent further. So it's, there's an element of guessing in there all the time.

Q. Kind of along those same lines, could you give kind of your impression of the course itself and its design. I noticed in the pro-am scores yesterday there were good rounds turned in by you, by Michael Allen, by Mike Reid, the course seems to support a lot of different styles of play and you talk about the firm greens and landing the ball and having it roll out. Can you just give your impression of kind of the design elements and the playability of the course?
BERNHARD LANGER: First of all, pro-am scores don't reflect what we did, because it's a Shamble, so you got a lot of the amateurs making eagles and birdies and that kind of stuff.
The general design is beautiful. I love the design and I like the layout and all that. I think some areas are a bit severe. Some greens are a bit severe.
Yesterday I hit 5-iron I think it was into 16, the par-5, hit a really good drive. It was down wind. And I felt it landed short of the green, where I tried to hit it to, and the ball was 10 yards through the green. And the green is 40 yards deep.
So downwind with a green like this, basically away from me, where do you land it? You land it 30 yards short of the green? We can't land it on the green, it's going to take off. Whenever you land it short of the green you might get a soft spot and it will stop within five yards so next time you get a bounce, but that's just one hole. But there's a couple other greens that are very severe for the lengths of the hole. And even some of the -- he's done a real nice job with some long holes and some short holes, couple of short par-4s where you could be tempted to drive it with the wind behind you.
But the greens are extremely extreme. Let's put it that way. Just very severe. You could land the ball 10 yards to the side, if you hit the right slope it will feed all the way down and you could hit it right next to the hole and it will take off. That kind of thing.
So you just, it's a course you really got to know, I think. And the wind's been so severe and strong the last couple days that it's it makes the course that much harder and more unpredictable.

Q. Your fitness is well documented. You're one of the most fit young guys on the TOUR. And I use that as --
BERNHARD LANGER: I like the young. Thank you.

Q. I say that is a compliment because you kept yourself fit all your career. How much will that play a role in playing this golf course?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know. It could. I always enjoyed fitness all my life and I had back issues all my life, so I had to do stretching and fitness to just be able to play golf.
I don't know how it feels to a guy who is not fit. Who is 50 pound overweight and he's got walk this golf course in altitude. I don't know how that feels. Because I've never been there.
But I think that it's definitely if it gets hot on top of it, it could play a factor.

Q. With all of the variables that you talked about, trying to come up with the right club to hit out here with the wind and elevation and so forth, have you thus far found yourself perhaps a little less sure of the club that you have selected when you've played thus far out here?
BERNHARD LANGER: Definitely. Because some of the golf courses we play where it's flat, and it's no wind, and you look at the yardage, 160 or whatever, okay, give me a 7-iron. There's no doubt. It's a 7-iron. Or 180, give me a whatever. 5-iron, you know.
But here it's nothing like that. With the wind as I said, wind and the up-and-down and every shot is up or down, there's very few shots that are totally flat. And then the wind and the elevation, you got to consider all that stuff, otherwise you hit a beautiful shot and you're 20 yards short or 20 yards over the green or somewhere.
KELLY ELBIN: Is there another golf course perhaps that compares to this course that you, that might come to mind.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well I only played, I haven't played much in elevation, I played the International Tournament at Castle Pines. And I enjoyed that venue very much. It's beautiful. And that was similar. That was very tricky.
You have 240 yard and you might pull out a 5-iron because it's downhill, downwind and thin air. And like yesterday, I think I hit an 8-iron on 17, which was actually yardage had to be close to 200 or something. Or 195. And I hit a 8-iron and it went long. So it's just hard to imagine.
KELLY ELBIN: Bernhard Langer, thank you very much.

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