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July 22, 2010

Bernhard Langer


STEVE TODD: Bernhard, thanks for coming in, a 67 today, good start.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, thank you. Very happy with it. Birdied the very first hole -- do you want to go through the round? Had some further chances the next few holes, and then had a nice run there on 7, 8, 9 when I birdied those three, made the turn, and there's a lot of tough holes on the back nine.
My single bogey came on, what was it, 15. Birdied 14, got to 5-under and my single bogey came on 15 after hitting a good 3-wood off the tee and a hybrid, which just caught the front bunker and didn't get my bunker shot close enough. Hit it to about ten feet and missed the putt.
But had some good approach putts from off the green when I missed a couple of greens here or there. I was able to get my approach putts pretty close and save par. It's a very tough finish. Those last few holes are all straight into the wind, and they are playing very long. You know, as I said, 15 was 3-wood, hybrid, and then 16 was hybrid, and 18 was driver, 3-wood for me, so that's a lot of club.
STEVE TODD: We talked yesterday about potential difficulty of the course. What is your assessment of the setup today?
BERNHARD LANGER: The setup was pretty fair. They moved a couple of tees up on some of those holes that are extremely long for seniors golf, and if you play those into the wind, like 18, if they had not moved up that tee, I couldn't have reached it.
So I think that was a good thing they did that, and I'm sure a lot of the guys will appreciate it.

Q. Can you recall your first time you played golf in Scotland, and also, what your best memory of playing golf in Scotland has been over the years?
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm not sure what the first time was. You'll have to look what my first Open Championship was. Where was it in '76, anybody know? Birkdale? I think that was my first one. I played a practise round with Gary Player, that's why I remember it. That was at Birkdale, and I was very impressed by Gary, trying all sorts of stuff in the practise round, different swing thoughts and different stuff. Then he went out and played pretty decent. So that was impressive to me. That might have been my first one.
Obviously I've played all over Scotland over the years for the Scottish Open.

Q. Do you have a particular memory that sticks out, playing in Scotland?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think one time I won, was it Haggs Castle or something. My memory is not that good, but obviously that was --

Q. In Glasgow.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, that was a nice win for me when I was still fairly young, having won my first tournament in Scotland. So that was important. So I've won many places around the world. That was the first one in Scotland.

Q. That win at Haggs Castle, were you having treatment that week, you had some sort of injury I think.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, my back might have been out or something. I was struggling with my lower back many a times.

Q. Yesterday you described Carnoustie as the toughest course you've ever played. You come around and shoot 67 around it today. Was it playing easier or have you just played exceptionally well?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I said the toughest links course, or at least that's what I was trying to say. It's close to being the toughest course.
I played very well. I kept the ball in play. I drove it pretty good. Hit a number of fairways. When I didn't hit the fairway, I was either fortunate enough to get a reasonable lie or miss some trouble and hit those shots out of the rough pretty good.
Made a few putts and hit my irons fairly close. You know, I didn't have too many 20-, 30-yarders which you can have out here, pretty quickly.

Q. The one shot that you dropped it on the back nine, you ended up short of the bunker, was that a miss-hit or a miss-club or something?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, that was actually a perfect shot that went straight at the flag. That might have been one of my better shots of the day, hybrid, straight at the flag. But if you look at it, it would have landed probably three or four yards short and it would have bounced on, but it probably kicked to the right because there's a bit of a ridge and just everything from there goes right and it rolled into the bunker. If it had been maybe this much further left, it would have been middle of the green or on top of the green, which I would have been very happy with hybrid.

Q. The Ryder Cup, obviously, was a big part of your career; if Martin Kaymer makes the team, how pleased would you be for him, and do you feel he's a player that can handle the big occasion?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, I expect him to make the team. I thought he would make it two years ago, and he was very close, but then I think his mother died that year and that set him back.
But I expect Martin to play in a lot of Ryder Cups in the next ten, 20 years, because he's got the game, he's got the right approach. He's got a good head on his shoulders, and I think he'll be one of the dominant players in Europe, maybe in the world, for the next 20 years or so, 15 years.

Q. How disappointed would he be by his own performance in the last round at St. Andrews?
BERNHARD LANGER: Extremely disappointed I would think. I heard he bogeyed the last three holes; I didn't see it. Is that true, or the last two? I don't know.
Whenever you do that, especially bogeying 18, is not good. 17, you can take a bogey because it plays like a four and a half anyway in a sense, but he would have definitely been disappointed. And I think if he had finished second on his own or whatever, he probably would have almost secured his Ryder Cup place I would think.

Q. Do you still take pride in seeing players coming through, given the impact you made on German golf? There's no doubt you've been an influence.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's not necessarily my doing. Obviously they watched me, most of them, and probably tried to emulate me, but it's not me; it's their doing. They are working hard. They are trying to get there. They are travelling. They are doing all of the stuff they need to do to make it to the top, but it was certainly important for German golf to have another person step up. When I left the regular tour and now I'm playing on the Champions Tour, they don't get to see me much anymore. It was good for Martin to show up and take over.

Q. In terms of the Champions Tour, you've won eight times in America. How much would it mean to you to win here?
BERNHARD LANGER: I've won ten times in America, but that's okay. (Laughter).

Q. You ought to get on their website then because they have got it wrong?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I've won on The Seniors Tour over here two years ago in the Czech Republic. But to win a major, the Senior Open, is always special.
I said the other day, one of my goals was always to win The Open Championship, and I guess that's not going to happen now since I'm not even qualified to play. So the next best thing would be to win this one.

Q. Do you think Monty will join The Seniors Tour eventually?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know how his drive is, if he wants to continue to play golf or if he wants to do something else. I really have no idea. Every player has to make that decision when he comes to that point. If he still wants to go practise and travel and do the same thing that he's been doing for 25, 30 years; most of us enjoy it, but not everyone does. You need to be healthy and not everyone's body holds up.

Q. What is the secret to playing quality golf for so many years? Is it diet, exercise and in general clean living?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, it's a lot of things. Probably ten, 15 things that come in to be a factor. First of all, you've got to be healthy. You've got to have the will to practise, the drive to go through all of the stuff that needs to be done here.
I think you need to be surrounded by good people, by a good family, have a good coach. What else is there? A number of things that just need to come together to be that good over a very long span of time. There's a lot of players that they can play good for two years, three years, maybe five years. But it's not easy to be that good over 30, 40 years. You need a good technique. You need to have a decent short game. You need to have mental strength to go through the downs. Everybody is going to have up and downs, and it's what you learn in the bad times that make you better.

Q. Am I right in saying that your son is a decent player?
BERNHARD LANGER: I wouldn't say decent, no. He's an average hacker I would say. (Laughter).

Q. He played last year, or year before?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, that was several years ago. He wasn't ready for that one. That was -- his game was pretty good six months before that and that's when we decided to try, but then it kind of went south from that point on and he never recovered, never found his game.

Q. Are you still as enthusiastic every morning to get up to play golf and compete as you ever were?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not every morning, no. (Laughter) There's a few mornings when things ache and hurt and it takes a little while to get it in gear.
I was probably more enthusiastic in my 20s and teens, 20s and 30s. But I still enjoy it, most of the time. I don't enjoy playing bad, because I would rather stay home with my kids and play with them than play bad golf.
But it comes with the territory. You don't know if you're going to play good or bad. It's different every day.

Q. The competitiveness is still there?
BERNHARD LANGER: It's still there. If I enter a tournament, then I'm there, and I like to do well and compete well.
STEVE TODD: Thank you.

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