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July 21, 2011

Bernhard Langer


Q. 2-under par, what's the verdict there?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it started off brilliant. Hit some really nice irons and drove the ball well. Got to 4-under with a bogey. Had one 3-putt in there. Played very solid. Hit a couple of loose shots coming home. Obviously once you're through 11, the golf course becomes quite hard. Hit a lot of 3-irons and 4-irons into the greens. But I hit a couple of wayward tee shots into the heather, got some bad lies, and then made a few bogeys.

Q. I know you've had thumb surgery, not been able to prepare in the way you would like to. Was that a factor today?
BERNHARD LANGER: It's a factor in the sense I'm still battling with my swing shots. I'm trying this for a couple holes and trying that for the next few holes. Not totally trusting everything yet. If I would have been able to practice, play more, I think that would have been a goner; you would have found something and just go with it.

Q. Talk about that closing stretch of seven holes where there's not really much let-up. How much difficult is that by Senior Tour standards?
BERNHARD LANGER: It's quite long. There's everything there. You gotta drive it well. You gotta hit long irons into some of these greens because of the bunkering, the way it's set up, and the only good thing is a couple of the greens are fairly large.
But that still doesn't make it a whole lot easier. So it's a very good finish.

Q. Did you get any pain from your thumb today?
BERNHARD LANGER: No, not really. The thumb was pretty good. So I was encouraged by that. Can't blame that.

Q. 2-under in these conditions, have you thought maybe a better score --
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm pretty happy with 2-under. Obviously if I had been 4-under I would have liked to bring that into the clubhouse, especially the way I played early on, that was really some of the best.
I hit some great iron shots, very close, and never made any putts of any distance except one putt there on 15 that was about 15 feet, and that was all.
That was all ball-striking early on. And then couldn't continue with a few loose shots. Had one 3-putt and that was it.

Q. Do you think most players will probably drop a shot or two coming over that closing stretch?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, most guys, more than a shot or two. The average is more than one or two. But you might find one or two guys who still manage to go even or 1-under but that will be the very exception.

Q. Albert Mackenzie a bit early played the last six holes level par.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah. After 11 it becomes a very tough golf course. 12 was a tough pin today. And 13 is a long hole. I hit 4-iron into 12, 3-iron into 13, 4-iron into 14 and 15 was a 9-iron. And 16 was another 3-iron. 17 was a 5-iron and 18 was like an 8-iron. A lot of long clubs.

Q. Are you happy with that?
BERNHARD LANGER: I am. If you had told me at the beginning of the day I would have taken a 70, just got off to a great start. Got to 4-under after 7 and then 3-putted 8 and again made birdie again on 9. It was a very good front nine.
Then the wheels came off a little bit. Bad tee shot on 11. Made 6 on the par 5, which always leaves a sour taste. And then a couple of other wayward tee shots. And I ended up shooting 2-over on the backside.

Q. Does that reflect how that's going to be play all week, that the back nine will be far more challenging?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think a lot of it depends on the wind. But I think in general the holes are a little longer, the last seven holes played a little longer today. Mostly into the wind. So weather always plays a role.

Q. For somebody who has been struggling with a thumb injury for so long, how did you find it out there?
BERNHARD LANGER: My thumb held up really good. And I was very happy with my ball-striking earlier. Just couldn't finish it off today.

Q. That must give you enough confidence for the next three days, if you're fit and healthy, you should be able to put up a pretty good defense to the title?
BERNHARD LANGER: That's what I hope. The first day you don't win a golf tournament; you can lose it. And I didn't lose it today. And I kept myself in a good position in the field where I have chances to be up there on Sunday if I keep playing well.

Q. We've been asking everybody, the big golfing story of the day is that Tiger Woods has split from his caddie Stevie Williams. Does that surprise you?
BERNHARD LANGER: It actually does, because they seemed to be a great team. And they've been together for a very long time. I don't know why they split up now, after he's not even playing.
I mean, if there's anything going on, they should have split up three months ago, four months ago, while he was playing. But, anyways, I'm sure Tiger has his reasons. And caddie/player relationship, they both need to be happy. If one party isn't, they will depart and find another combination.

Q. Well, that was very much Stevie Williams' point of view, was the timing of it all, that he feels he's wasted the last two years. Do you have a little bit of sympathy with him?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not really, because he didn't waste the last two years. He still made a lot of money the last two years, I think.

Q. But he hasn't been carrying his bag the last year, has he?
BERNHARD LANGER: Very little the last year, that's true. But I've seen him caddie for a couple of other players. I'm sure Tiger has no problem if he works for someone else while he's injured or while he's off.
So Steve had the opportunity, I would think. And I'm sure he'll find a good player.

Q. And for you, you had Pete Coleman as your caddie for so many years. Just talk a little bit just about the relationship that you had with the caddie. How do you view your bagman?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, there's got to be a lot of respect on both sides, and as I said both sides need to be happy. Because it's like a marriage. It's not going to be perfect all the time.
When we're under stress and pressure, we're going to say things or do things that might not be perfect. And so the caddie at times has to just take it, whether he thinks it's right or not. And they have to wear lots of different hats. They need to be a psychologist. They need to be a friend. They need to be an encourager, all sorts of stuff. And that's what a good caddie does. And I'm sure they don't always feel that way either.
But if you want to be up there caddying for a great player, that's what you need to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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