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May 27, 2010

Bernhard Langer


KELLY ELBIN: Bernhard Langer, two-time Masters champion, joining us in the first round of the 71st Senior PGA Championship. He's in with 6-under par 66. Tied for the lead with Robin Freeman midway through this first round. Bernhard, you started on number 10, six birdies for the day, you had an eagle in there, quite a start. Quite a group you were with today.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it was a lot of fun playing with Fred Funk and Fred Couples and everybody played pretty good. They both got off to a bit of a shaky start, but then Fred Couples came back very strong and Fred Funk played pretty solid all day too. So it's a lot of fun.
KELLY ELBIN: Good start. Would you mind going through briefly the birdies and then what you did on 14 with the pitching the ball in for eagle.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I started on 10, so 11 I hit a 4-iron to about five feet.
12, I hit driver and 3-iron. That was probably my best shot. Well, next to the one that I holed, to about five feet again or six feet.
14, hit 3-iron off the tee and a full sand wedge and backed it up into the hole. That was pretty exciting.
Then I hit driver, hybrid, just short of the green, chipped it up to about six feet on 15.
18, I hit a bad tee shot into the bunker and had to go with a 7-iron to get it above the lip, which wasn't enough club to reach the green and then chipped it to about 10 feet and missed the putt.
No. 1 was a driver, then laid up with an a 6-iron short of the bunker, and hit a 9-iron to about 15 feet, made that one.
Number 5, I hit a driver in the semi rough, 3-iron short of the green, chipped it short and 2-putted from 15 feet.
7, that was a driver and a 7-iron flier out of the rough. 2-putts from about 40 feet.
8 was the driver and a chip or pitch to about one foot. And that was it.
KELLY ELBIN: Bernhard 66 is the best score you've had in the Senior PGA Championship single round competition. Open it up for questions, please.
BERNHARD LANGER: Did you have to throw that in?
KELLY ELBIN: Maybe it will get better tomorrow.
BERNHARD LANGER: Just kidding.

Q. Yesterday you were talking about the severity of some of the greens, they might have softened up a little overnight, slowed down a little. Can you talk about how the course played today in relationship to how you had seen it in the practice rounds?
BERNHARD LANGER: It played very similar. The only difference as you mentioned was maybe a little bit softer earlier on, but they're not going to water it during the day, so it's going to get firmer and firmer with this wind and the sun and no humidity it's going to be really firm in the afternoon and we're going to be facing that again tomorrow.
So it's definitely not easy out there. The wind was blowing pretty good again and anywhere I would guess from 15 to 35 miles an hour depending upon what gusts you are getting and it wasn't consistent either from the same direction.
The forecast said south winds, on my chart it went anywhere from southeast to southwest and all over the place, which makes it that much more of a guessing game when you try to pull the right club.
KELLY ELBIN: You had 26 putts today, the same as Robin Freeman. Did you feel good about putting on these greens coming in?
BERNHARD LANGER: I did. I was very happy with my putting. I putted better than I had been the last few weeks and I was pretty pleased. I had good pace all day long. I had about two other putts that looked like they could have gone in, but just stayed on the lip, so I was pretty pleased with my stroke today.

Q. When you know you're going to play the first round in the morning, you know you got to shoot a good score, do you have something in mind because you know tomorrow's going to be different?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I had nothing in mind. I think anything under par is a very good score on this golf course in these conditions. And I don't know what tomorrow brings. Hopefully I'll score just as good tomorrow. But I really have no idea. We don't know what the wind does tomorrow and what kind of pin positions we're going to have and all that kind of stuff.
So you just go out there and I really never have any kind of score in mind, I just try to shoot the lowest number I can possibly shoot out there.

Q. Did you notice the wind picking up significantly towards the end of the round? Robin Freeman when he was in here was talking about how he would get those gusts that came up in the middle of the round in the morning, he said for later in the day it seemed like it was more consistent when it picked up.
BERNHARD LANGER: It picked up some, but there was, from the very first shot we teed off at 10 past nine and I remember standing on the, my second hole, the 11th hole, and it was blowing pretty good. I thought it was blowing 15 to 20 at that point and sometimes it went down to if I have or 10, but then two minutes later it was back to 20 again.
So, but there were some gusts later on, Freddie's ball was oscillating on the green on number 7 and there were gusts of I would say 30, 35, but more or less, so it did pick up somewhat. But that seems to be the common theme. I mean every afternoon it seems to be blowing more than in the morning.

Q. Wondering what your distance was on the eagle. Sand wedge?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I figured with all this calculations I played for 94 meters, which is 103 yards to the pin. And it pitched just past the hole and sucked it back into the hole.

Q. The psychological, the psychology of getting an eagle, I mean does that really pump a player up early in a round, I mean it's not common deal and you got a couple extra strokes with it.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's always nice to do it, but you still have to play the rest, I still had 14 holes to go or 13, and I had to play them, whether I made eagle there or birdie or par. But, yeah, it's nice to get under, in the red numbers, get under par early and take it from there. It's certainly better than being a couple over, so.

Q. How many practice rounds did you actually get in and you're known for being meticulous in your preparation, did you think you might have had an advantage in that respect? Are you more thorough than some other players?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know how other players play practice rounds and how they prepare. I saw a bunch of guys, we played a practice round yesterday, it took three hours to play the front nine holes, 2:50 or something, so a lot of people were out there and they were taking it very serious. And we were ready to walk in.
But then a lot of guys stopped after nine, so I decided to have a look at the back nine one more time, because on Monday I didn't play the back nine, it was, the wind was 50, 60 miles an hour, you could hardly walk. So I had sent my caddie in and I just walked the course and made some notes on the greens and the angles and the slopes and all that kind of stuff.
So I wanted to play the back nine one more time, so I stayed out there yesterday. But it wasn't much fun because it was blowing 30 to 40 yesterday and I didn't learn a whole lot, but I did see a couple of things that I didn't notice earlier on, so. That was good.

Q. Did you guys get a full 36 in in practice?
BERNHARD LANGER: I played 11 holes on Monday, I played 18 in the pro-am and Tuesday and then 18 yesterday.
KELLY ELBIN: You birdied three of the par-5s. Is taking advantage of those par-5s perhaps something to keep an eye on over the course of the four days?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, obviously the, it's, on a tough course like this you want to take advantage of the par-5s. Some of them were reachable today and I didn't reach number, what is it? 16, I drove it in the rough, even though I thought I hit a real good tee shot, but it bounced in the rough and had no chance, otherwise I could have reached that one too, I think.
I made a good birdie on 1 when I didn't reach it either.
But you got to score on the par-5s because it's hard to make birdies on the par-3s and the par-4s.

Q. You consider yourself a good wind player and what's the key to playing in the wind?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think I'm a pretty decent wind player. There's different thoughts to playing in the wind. Obviously you got to flight your ball and you got to hit the shape that you're thinking you're going to hit. Because if you're thinking you're going to hit a draw and you're going to hit a fade into a crosswind, then it's a huge difference.
The really good wind players say they always play, they curve it into the wind. I don't always do that, but that's a better way to stop the ball on the greens. So if you have right-to-left wind you slice it into the wind and the ball comes down softer than letting it hook. So those are the things that you might want to consider in the wind. Depending upon the pin position.
KELLY ELBIN: Bernhard Langer in with 66 tied for the lead in the Senior PGA Championship. Thank you.

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