home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 20, 2011

Bernhard Langer


PAUL SYMES: Welcome back to the Senior British Open. How does it feel come back as defending champion?
BERNHARD LANGER: Great memories last year at Carnoustie and it's always fun being defending champion, it means that you've done something well. That's always good. Nice to be back at Walton Heath, too, because I haven't been here at least 20 years I think, and played my first Ryder Cup here, which I'd like to forget as quick as possible, because we were beaten pretty badly by the Americans but that might have been the strongest team I ever faced.
Yeah, otherwise, happy to be here.
PAUL SYMES: And did the memories come flooding back to the course? Is it as tight as you remember?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah. The bunkering is very good, it's terrific -- and actually links bunkers. Even though we are not on a links course, but it has the face built into the bunkers and that are pretty deep, pretty tall. So you want to stay out of those.
And the golf course, you know, they built a bunch of new tees. It's quite long from the back tees, you could be 7,500 almost, which is pretty long. It's playing quite long with all the rain we've had. I've been here now for ten days and I think only two days we didn't have rain. So the other eight days, we had rain.
PAUL SYMES: That's what they call the British summertime. And finally, your thumb, are you back on full fitness now or is it still giving you problems?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's not 100 per cent, but I had surgery on my thumb. I had a torn ligament and had surgery in March in New York. Doctor thought it should be okay after eight weeks and it wasn't and I developed arthritis in both joints, and had a the low of physical therapy the last six weeks, seven weeks.
Tried to play in Germany. I was still -- first week was not too bad, beginning of the week, and then it got course. And then I took a few more days off, played another few days, missed the cut at the BMW and then I took two full weeks off because the doctor thought it would be better to do that. Didn't touch a club.
And now last week, it was pretty decent and it's been about the same way this week. My doctor's with me and he's given me therapy every morning, every evening, trying to get some movement back.

Q. How important was it to get two competitive rounds under your belt at Royal St George's last week?
BERNHARD LANGER: The competitive rounds are obviously important because you learn more when you play a tournament, but even for practise it was important for me.
So I have practised very little in the last four months. Even though the long game comes back fairly quickly, but it's difficult when you practise and play and I've always been one who practised quite a bit.
So my game has not been where I left it in March. It will probably take a while to get back.

Q. How well did the thumb hold up?
BERNHARD LANGER: Last week was the best so far, in the last two months. That was the best. It's still stiff. It's still aggravating, but it has not been as much pain as before. So I was pleased to see the development and just hope that it will go away eventually.

Q. How competitive do you feel?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not as prepared and my game is not where it was four months ago, as I said, or where it has been the last four years. It's just something I have to deal with. Still can play some good golf, and hopefully my game and my scores will get better every week as I'm able to practise and play.

Q. Any pain?
BERNHARD LANGER: A little bit here and there but a lot less than it has been.

Q. What are your thoughts on the course?
BERNHARD LANGER: Thoughts on the course, layout? The course is in pretty good shape. The greens are pretty long because it's soft and wet. This course, normally you get a bit of bounce, run on the ball but it's not happening at the moment because it's raining every night.
Otherwise, they have lengthened it. It's quite long. It's a good test. You need to drive the ball well and you need to hit proper iron shots, and then you still have a testing short game. So it's definitely a major-calibre test out there.

Q. How does the thumb affect your swing?
BERNHARD LANGER: Right now, as I said, the last ten days I can pretty much do most things, pretty much almost everything. There was a time before that when I tried to play a little bit of practise where I couldn't load.
You know, the surgery was on this thumb and the shaft is sitting here on the backswing, and when you come down you put a lot of pressure on there. And when I took a divot, it hurt. I was doing this at the top probably, and then taking it clean, hitting it short and high and thin, and all of the stuff you don't want to really do.
And that's the danger of playing when you're hurt, because you are getting used to stuff that you then take time to get rid of again later on.

Q. Will you ever recover fully?
BERNHARD LANGER: My doctor thinks it's possible it might never quite be the same, but if I can get rid of the pain, you know, where I can go after any shot without pain, then that's all I'm looking for.
I don't need -- I don't need all the flexibility that way. I don't need that playing golf. I might never get that. I need this, going back. That's what I need in golf. And to be able to push on it at impact; I don't need that stuff.

Q. Will it be tough to hit out the heather?
BERNHARD LANGER: I try not to. I don't want to injure myself in practise rounds. I took a couple of chip shots out near the green and that was okay. Hopefully I don't spend a whole lot of time in there and I'll tell you the next few days if I did.

Q. What memories do you have of winning last year at Carnoustie?
BERNHARD LANGER: I remember the golf course was set up extremely well for the championship because the only other time I played Carnoustie was in The Open, when was it, '99 or something, I can't remember now, and that was a poor setup I thought, the way the golf course presented itself was not good. Forced us to hit 1-irons off the tee and then you had a 1-iron not green. That's not how golf should be played I think.
So last year was really good. And what I remember is just driving the ball pretty good, my short game was good. I had lots of up-and-downs. Made some crucial putts and battled with Corey Pavin the last day. That's what I remember.
Obviously winning and lifting the trophy, I always wanted to win the regular Open trophy and never have done. So winning the Senior is the next best thing I guess.

Q. As a Ryder Cup Captain, can you talk about -- is winning a Major --
BERNHARD LANGER: Not necessarily. I don't think you need to win a Major Championship to be a good captain. To be a good captain I think you need different qualifies like leadership qualities, understanding what it means.
I think it's necessary that you've played in The Ryder Cup at least once, or several times. I think that would help, because you understand what happens with the psychology of the guys who are not playing, because you have 12 guys on the team and only eight are playing, except Sunday. So how do you keep those other four guys happy and motivated when they are just on the sideline? That's a key thing.
And there's a whole bunch of other small things. You need to be a good communicator. You need to be able to talk and let them know that you are up there and they can talk to you and that you're one of the team and we are all pulling on the same string, we all have the same goal, the same target. No one is better or course worse. This is a team that is not like a couple of prima donnas and six other guys, things like that.

Q. How important is the mental aspect?
BERNHARD LANGER: The mental game is extremely important in golf. If you take two guys that have a similar technique and similar game of golf, the guy that is mentally stronger is always going to beat the other guy, every time.
But it's not true that golf is 90 per cent mental. That's what you hear. If you put me against a handicap 36, I'll beat him every single time. Whether he's the best -- he could be the best mental guy in the world and I could be the worst, I'll beat him, I guarantee you that.

Q. Are you enjoying life on the Senior Tour?
BERNHARD LANGER: I love the Senior Tour. Obviously I don't play a lot in Europe because I live in America and play mostly the Champions Tour, but I really enjoy it. Many friends out there, many great players, some of the legends in the game, and we have some good tournaments. I enjoy going home Sunday night and coming back out Tuesday or Wednesday, which I couldn't do on the regular tour because of an extra day's play and all that. So a lot of benefits.
I enjoy not missing cuts, just playing aggressive golf. That's what it takes to win.
PAUL SYMES: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297