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November 4, 2011

Bernhard Langer


THE MODERATOR: You played your way into contention 3-under par through 36 holes. A few comments about your round.
BERNHARD LANGER: Certainly nicer today than yesterday. As we all know, the rain came in and it got really cold. Today was not quite as windy. Yesterday we had a lot of wind.
But played pretty good. I drove the ball well, made a couple of putts. Sadly I made bogey on 17 when I short-sided myself. Overall it was a pretty solid round. Hit most of the greens. Had a couple of good up-and-downs. As I said, I played reasonably solid from tee-to-green.
1st hole was a driver, 9-iron. Made about a 30-foot putt.
No. 9 was driver, 3-wood. Missed the green right. Short-sided myself. Got a great up-and-down. Pitched it to about 10, 12 feet, made the putt.
10 was driver hybrid, then a pitch shot from about 40 yards, a six-foot putt.
Great up-and-down on 11 when I bunkered my tee shot. Hit my bunker shot to about a foot.
Then we have 15. I hit 3-wood off the tee, 6-iron, and about a 20-footer.
17 was 6-iron. Pushed it to the right. Again, short-sided myself. Tried to be cute. Left my first pitch out of the rough short, in the rough. Pitched it up to about a foot and a half.
That was pretty much it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll just go to questions.

Q. Can you talk through the season. I know with the injury and all, you have a win, but does it seem like a million years ago?
BERNHARD LANGER: Sure seems that way, yeah. Last three years, three and a half years, I was winning on a regular basis sort of thing. Every four, five, six events, I would sneak in a win or something like that.
Yeah, it's been a while now. It's been a tough year health-wise. First I had surgery, then still hurting after surgery. Then I hurt my knee at the British Open, had fluid in my knee. Had to drain that twice. My ankle was hurting.
I've had a few issues this year. But the knee and the ankle are better. The thumb is not good, but it's good enough to play.

Q. Which knee and ankle?
BERNHARD LANGER: The whole left side.

Q. About the thumb, the recovery from it has been tough. Tougher than you thought it might have been?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it has been. The surgeon made it sound pretty simple: We can take care of that, you'll be back on Tour in eight weeks. It was healed after eight weeks, but then I developed arthritis in those two joints. It's been an uphill battle ever since.

Q. Any general thoughts about the golf course itself today, the playability, playing here in northern California in this city?
BERNHARD LANGER: Love this part of the country. The golf course is phenomenal. It's really, really good. The only thing I could say that's not perfect is we had a few mud balls. I guess they don't think it's bad enough. But we all had some mud balls off the tee. It's hard to control your iron shot when you have mud on the ball.
The golf course in general is so much better, so much improved from last year. It can't get a whole lot better, I think. It's great. It's fun being here.

Q. What did you do at St. George's? Not very many level places to walk or hit the ball. Of course, the weather got bad.
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I didn't do anything. I just played a few practice rounds. Missed the cut basically. Wasn't playing good enough. I hurt my knee, but not playing golf or whatever. I didn't trip in a hole or anything like that. I just woke up one day with fluid in my knee. Don't know why. But that was it.
Could have come from a week earlier. I was in the Alps walking up and down mountains. Maybe that was a bit too much strain. Downhill you put a lot of pressure on your knees.

Q. Did the thumb keep you from working on your game as much as you would have liked to?
BERNHARD LANGER: It did at the beginning. My doctor told me I should stay off from practicing. My first few tournaments I played, hit no balls afterwards, maybe 10, 15 balls, then quit. I couldn't go through my normal routine.
I think I was just at the same time casting the club a little bit, trying to pick the ball. Every time I took a divot, it hurt. I probably got into some bad habits and it took me a couple months to realize what's going on, try to work my way out of that again.
I feel like I'm now not scared. I know it's going to hurt on certain shots, but I'm going after the ball. I just take the pain. It goes away after 10 seconds. Not like a toothache that's constant.

Q. Do you still have the same desire to play well and improve?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, yeah. That's part of me. I don't know, you're probably born with it, whatever. You have that competitive instinct. You just love to be in the hunt. You love to be in competition.
I probably wouldn't play a whole lot of golf if it was just for fun. I just love to compete.
THE MODERATOR: Continued good luck. Thank you.

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