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November 3, 2010

Bernhard Langer


DAVE SENKO: Bernhard, thanks for joining us. You've come in in the enviable position of being at the top of the Money List, as well as the Charles Schwab Cup points list. You had a chance to play today. Maybe just talk a little bit about that, and then start looking ahead to the weekend, the next four days.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, we've had a phenomenal day, as you know. It's just beautiful out there. Sunshine, mid-70s, gorgeous golf course, great scenery. I had a fun group to be with as well, so we had a great day so far.
Just enjoying the last week of the season. Obviously it's been a great year for me with five victories, two of them being majors. Fred Couples had just a fantastic year himself.
So we've been -- as I said earlier on, we've been given the Charles Schwab jersey. You know, the leader in the Charles Schwab Cup race has a yellow caddie bib. I call it a jersey. It's been going back and forth between him and me, and it's very fitting that one of us will win it at the end of the season. We'll know by Sunday.
DAVE SENKO: Questions.

Q. You won the player of the year and the money title the last two years, but the Schwab Cup has been the one thing that avoided you. Is it something that you've been motivated to try to win?
BERNHARD LANGER: Definitely. You know, when I came out on the Champions Tour, whatever, three years ago, I set myself certain goals. I wanted to, No. 1, win tournaments; I wanted to be one of the dominant players out here; I wanted to win majors; win the Money List; win the Jack Nicklaus Award and the Arnold Palmer Award; be the player of the year; and win the Schwab Cup.
Looking back now, I've pretty much done all of it except the Charles Schwab Cup. I'm in a very good position to do that this week. Hopefully that will happen. Then I'll have to set new goals for the coming years.

Q. Clearly to have a season like you've had you've had a lot of nice moments. When you look back, the way you played on Sunday at Sahalee to fend off Freddy in that environment, I mean, when you reflect on that, what do you think about yourself and how well you did play?
BERNHARD LANGER: It was definitely one of my better rounds of golf under the circumstances. First of all, the golf course was extremely tough and the pin positions were very difficult. And then the whole environment was somewhat against me. Let's face it, it was like a Ryder Cup. 99% of the people out there were cheering for Freddy to win, which is understandably so. He grew up there and he's the nation's darling. Anyway, he's always been well-liked, and I understand why.
I was the guy they didn't want to win. They treated me very nice and very well. I have no complaints. But I knew it would be a difficult environment to play well, and I tried to prepare myself. I was able to play one of the better rounds of golf I probably played under those circumstances.

Q. What are your thoughts on the golf course? I'm thinking this is probably the first time you've been out here. What had you heard about the course? Did it match up with what you had heard? Just general thoughts.
BERNHARD LANGER: I saw and watched a little bit of the telecast when they had the Presidents Cup here, and even I think when John Daly and Tiger had a playoff whatever tournament that was years ago. It always looks different when you play it yourself than what you see on TV.
I really like the golf course. It's a great test of golf. It's a tree-lined golf course where you've got to drive the ball straight and hit very precise irons. Even then, you know, you still got to putt well, like you always have to. The short game has got to be good.
It's a test of golf which pretty much tests every club in your bag and your mental strength, too. It's a very good golf course I think for this tournament for the end of the year, Charles Schwab Cup Championship, you know, and the whole season.

Q. I know you talked about this before, but it still seems amazing that you could win the British Open one week and fly eight hours across time zones and then win the U.S. Open the next week. How did you do that?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, very much so. It's difficult to win two tournaments back-to-back, yet both of them being majors is even harder. With an eight-hour time change makes it that much more difficult. So, yes, I did surprise myself.
I was actually one of those that was not happy that we had back-to-back majors. You know, two of the most important tournaments we play all year, and they were scheduled back to back. I still think that's not good. The young guys don't do that, why do we over 50 have to go through that? Makes no sense whatsoever. Somebody in charge ought to get behind it and change it.
This year I was the fortunate one to come out on top of both of those tournaments. Confidence is very important in golf. It was just I had a lot of confidence winning the week before, and took that confidence into the next week and played well had a very good putting week. That always helps. When you putt well, you're going to be up there.

Q. One of the interesting things about having you and Couples as 1 and 2 this year, being the two players to really watch out here, you go about your business a lot differently. It's really a great example of how golf can be played in lots of different styles. Do you ever think about that? You are very much a study in contrast with how you two go about your business.
BERNHARD LANGER: You know, it might come over that way to you guys or to the public, but I think deep down Freddy is trying as hard as I am. He really cares, even though he might seem very nonchalant, you know, like it really doesn't matter. But it does matter to him. I know it does. He wouldn't be a champion otherwise, and he wants to win. That's why he's still out here and that's why he's still practicing.
Yes, to the outside we look somewhat different. I think on the inside we're very similar.

Q. I just want to get your take on outside the golf course. This baseball phenomena that's going on this week, certainly not your No. 1 sport, but have you grown an appreciation of it?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not even in my top 15. Yeah, I'm the wrong guy to ask. It's not even on my radar screen. It's just one sport I never really took a liking to, and I'm a sports fanatic, so...

Q. How much do you weigh now and what did you weigh in 1984?
BERNHARD LANGER: Somewhere between 162 and 165 right now. And '80 what?

Q. Early '80s.
BERNHARD LANGER: Probably 155 to 160.

Q. Playing so well this year, do you put a feeling on it? How long do you think you can stay in this shape and keep playing the way you are? Is there an end game?
BERNHARD LANGER: You never know in this game. It's the craziest game in the world. People have won majors, and six months later they hung up the clubs basically. You know, there are examples like that.
So you never know what the future holds. All I know is I've been very blessed that I'm very healthy and I still have the drive and the will to practice. I love to compete.
And, you know, Lord willing, I'll play a few more years. I know my years are numbered. When you look at statistics, once you reach that 60 mark, it's tough to win anything. Even the very, very best in the business have a hard time winning on a regular basis when you turn 60. And I'm not sure I'm going to play this game if I feel I can't win anymore.
So that probably didn't answer your question, but that's just how I feel.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: I was, yeah, for a few weeks when the world ranking came out. In 1986 or something, I think for three weeks I was ranked as No. 1 in the world. Yeah, I was No. 1 in various places in my life. I won the European Money List a couple of times.
What else? Won the Money List on the Champions Tour the last two years and I'm leading again this year.

Q. Where does that rank though? It's not like winning the Masters.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it still ranks up there. You know, if you're No. 1 on this tour, it pretty much means you might be the best player in the world over 50 years old, because this is the toughest tour there is.
The senior tour in Europe is not as competitive as this tour, because we have players from all over the world competing here. There is no other tour coming close to this. I think whatever you do you want to be one of the best. It's always nice to be No. 1.
I would rather be No. 1 than number No. 3.

Q. This is great year not only for you, but for Martin Kramer. Did you think this time would come that another great player would come up behind and you do what he's done?
BERNHARD LANGER: You know, it really didn't look that I for many, many years. I thought it would happen sooner, and we had a couple guys that won a tournament here or there and disappeared; and then somebody else came and won a tournament, and you say, Oh, he might be the one.
Nobody's been as good as Kramer. When you look at this guy, he's rock solid and he's got good technique and a great head on his shoulders. For a 25 year old or whatever he is, he's very mature. I am convinced he's going to be No. 1 in the world at some stage. It could happen next week or the following week, but it might not happen for five or ten years. Tiger might get back into form and take over for another few years.
Kramer certainly has the ability and the game and the mindset and all that to be No. 1.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: I did actually. I think we actually have a lot of things in common and a lot of similarities. He comes from, a very solid background family-wise. He's emotionally similar to me. You know, he's not wearing his emotions on the sleeve.
Kramer, whether he shoots 66 or 86, he's the same guy. I think that will help him in the long run to get off the emotional roller coaster that golf is.

Q. Would you counsel him in any way? Does he ever seek your counsel?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, we've talked on a number of occasions. We talked before the Ryder Cup because this was a new experience for him. First Ryder Cup. We had about a 20 minute phone conversation, and I told him what I think is important in the Ryder Cup to do. He was listening and he appreciated it.
I don't know how much of that he takes to heart or what he puts into practice. We played practice rounds at the Masters together, and he picked my brain there because I played that course 200, 300 times. I don't know how many times. So I pretty much know every inch about that place.
Things like that. So I've tried to help him a little bit and give him some advice. It comes pretty natural, most of the stuff to him.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, in France? Yes. We want the Ryder Cup in 2018. I know France want it, and a few other places, too. Five countries are competing. I'm going to make a trip to Germany here in about 12 days to get the thing going more for Germany and get behind it and see what else we need to do.
I know France wants it, and they probably deserve it, too. We'll see what happens. It's not really in my hands or your hands or anybody's hands. It's the committee that decides where the Ryder Cup 2018 will go.

Q. (No microphone.)
BERNHARD LANGER: It will be a brand new golf course specially designed for that occasion. I'm part of the designing team, yes.
DAVE SENKO: Thanks, Bernhard.
BERNHARD LANGER: You're welcome.

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