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SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY KITCHENAID


May 23, 2012


Bernhard Langer


BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN

KELLY ELBIN:¬† World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer joining us at the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.¬† Bernhard, you had a pretty good season so far.¬† You've had five top‑5 finishes on the Champions Tour, this will be your fourth Senior PGA Championship appearance, nice to have you back, we missed you last year with the left thumb injury.¬† Comments on your game right now and certainly on the golf course that you've had a chance to play the last couple days.
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, thanks.  Game's been pretty steady this year, back to where I used to be and the surgery last year knocked me back for several months and I had a lot of pain there for about six to eight months.  But now I'm pretty much pain free and can practice and play as much as I want.  And the results have been pretty good, just the W has been missing.  But it will come.  Keep knocking on the door and it will happen.
In terms of the golf course, I think it's a phenomenal golf course from tee to green.  One of the world's best, I would say, but could be the most severe or worst green complexes I've ever seen in my life.
KELLY ELBIN:  What are any particular premiums out there?  Is this a putting game this week, is it irons into the green?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† It's definitely irons into the green because if you ‑‑ but there's so many humps and bumps, you could miss one hump by this much (Indicating) ball landing here could go 20 yards that way, ball handing here (Indicating) could go 20 yards that way, or 15.¬† So there's a lot of that involved.
And you could hit a perfect shot landing on a downhill lie on one of these humps and you go over the green.  And you land on the uphill and you back it up.  And all that within a foot at times or two feet.
So it's a lot of that involved.  And then obviously you need a lot of imagination, you need some great touch, but it takes everything.  And when the wind's blowing, it makes it that much harder to get your irons close to the pin and to hit these small pockets of greens that you want to hit.  And so now you're going to face missing greens probably more often than in strong winds and also then short siding yourself or chipping and pitching from places where you normally wouldn't want to be.  And it just makes it that much harder.
KELLY ELBIN:  Open it up for questions.

Q.  Is there any set of greens elsewhere in the world that these remind you of?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Korea was a little bit like it.  The one tournament we played there.  But nothing else really is quite that extreme.  I think if my personal opinion, it's just my personal opinion, if the undulations were one third of what they were on the greens it would be one of the best golf courses in the world.  But it's just that severe that, if we don't enjoy it, how is the average amateur going to enjoy it?  It's a public course, right?

Q.  Yes.
KELLY ELBIN:  Further questions?

Q.  Does that bring the mental aspect into play even more this week?  You're going to hit good shots and perhaps not get rewarded?
BERNHARD LANGER:  That's pretty much guaranteed.  That's going to happen to everybody.  Yeah, you're going to have to deal with that.  I mean, the game is mental anyways, even without that, it's mental, so it's going to be more so this week.

Q.  Did your practice routine change any here where you're unfamiliar with the course versus someplace you've been before?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Of course.  I probably showed up a day sooner and spent more time, especially at the golf course.  The practice round took six hours today.  Always takes long in a Major.  But not quite this long.  And it's because the greens are so severe and everybody is taking extra looks and extra putts and extra chips to make sure they got the bases covered and they have some clue what to do when the pin is in a certain position.
And that's the same with me.  You can't memorize these greens so you got to make lots of notes, because there's just too much happening.

Q.  You mentioned the repelling of the shots.  In a way, does it affect iron play more than putting, the slopes?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Well, it affects both.  First of all, if your iron play, it needs to be so good and even if it's really good you might not always get rewarded.
And then the putting becomes that much harder, because you're going to have some putts and even some chips and pitches where you have no chance.  It's just not going to get it near the hole.  Or you could have six different breaks in a 30 foot putt.  With three different elevation changes.  Or four.
And that's a common thing, it's not ‑‑ number 10 green it took me two or three tries to just get it up on top.¬† I never had a putt that was that slow.
(Laughter.)

Q.  Fred Funk was saying earlier today in so many words that it might be better to be lucky than good out here.  Is luck a part of it?  And also with the wind, he almost said that if the wind changes, what we have been doing the past couple days won't even matter.
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, definitely it brings more luck into the game.  That's what I said.  You pitch it one foot here or one foot there from 180 yards away, who is that good?  Nobody.  Doesn't matter who you are.  And even from 120 yards you're not going to be able to hit it within a foot.
So, yeah, luck will play a big part of it.  And you can get some, you can hit some crappy shots and end up in maybe good places and hit some good shots and end up in some not so good places.
That could be what's happening out here.  I'm not saying that good shots always end up in bad places, but it could happen a few times.

Q.  Earlier in the 1980's period Nicklaus was known for doing crazy greens and then sort of got away from it.  Any thoughts on what do you think he was thinking with the greens he put in here?
BERNHARD LANGER:  I really don't know.  I'm an architect myself and design golf courses.  But I heard him talk about the Korea greens and he said that's the only way to protect the golf course now days from the way the players play.  They hit it so far, they hit it so straight, they hit it so precise that the only way to protect the golf course is by building greens like that.
And I'm not quite sure.¬† Hilton Head, Harbour Town doesn't have greens like that and I don't see anybody shooting 25, 30‑under at Harbour Town or Colonial or a few other courses.

Q.  As a golf course architect, what more traditional manners would you see for a course to protect itself against the length of the golf ball these days?
BERNHARD LANGER: ¬†As I said earlier, and you might not have been in here, I think the golf course is phenomenal.¬† If he had done one third of the undulations on the green, that's my personal opinion, I think it would be in the Top‑20 golf courses I've ever played.
He's done a great job from tee to green and even the greens, the way he's shaped them and all that are good, they're just too severe.  Just, if every hump that is this high would be this high (Indicating) it would still be challenging, you would have all sorts of movement, you still have six different breaks on a long putt, but it would be less.  Less of it and more fair for the second shot, when it hits the green, that they would end up more where they should end up and not depending upon whether you hit an up slope or down slope other side slope or any of that stuff.  That's all.  It's just a little over the top.  Or a lot over the top.
KELLY ELBIN:  You almost won this in your first try considering the history of this championship all the way back to '37.  What would it mean to win the championship come Sunday?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Well, it would mean a lot.  I think every player's dream is to win Majors and the PGA Championship always had a great reputation to be set up fairly well.  I think over the years, even on the PGA TOUR, I thought that the PGA Championship was, had a better setup than the USGA, the U.S. Open many times.  They went to the very, very limit and often crossed that limit where it became unfair.
While the PGA Championship was always somewhat fair.  It was always a championship where good shots were rewarded, good play was rewarded, and that's what I, that's what stands out for me.  But to win any Major and especially the PGA Championship would mean a lot.
KELLY ELBIN:  Bernhard Langer, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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