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July 10, 2012

Bernhard Langer


JOE GOODE:テつ We welcome Bernhard Langer to the media center.テつ He will be teeing off in the 1:40 p.m. grouping.テつ You're off to a great start this year with nine Top 10s in only 11 starts, including three runner‑up finishes.テつ Talk about how you're playing and how you're preparing coming into a U. S. Senior Open.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Yeah, I've been playing pretty steady.テつ I haven't won the last few months.テつ I had this thumb surgery in March of last year, and that kind of set me back for a number of months because it was very painful till about November.テつ And then from December onward I was able to practice and play the way I wanted to.テつ So now I'm playing pretty good again.テつ Just waiting for the W.
Preparation‑wise, I just came from a four weeks' visit to Europe.テつ Came over here Sunday night.テつ So I'm a little jet lagged, pretty tired right now.テつ It's 10 p.m. on my body, and ready to go to bed soon, which is a bit too early.テつ So I have to overcome that the next day or two.テつ And otherwise I've played two practice rounds already and probably going to take it a little easier tomorrow.
The course looks great.テつ It's in great condition.テつ Very tough test of golf from tee to green, especially on the greens.テつ So it will take a great champion to win this championship.
JOE GOODE:テつ Do you prepare differently for a major like this than you do a typical tour event?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ I will probably come a day earlier than most normal tour events I know the golf courses.テつ I've been there, I've seen them.テつ This is a course that I've never seen before, so I take a little bit more time checking it out and making notes and trying to figure out how to attack it.
JOE GOODE:テつ Why don't we open it up to some questions.

Q.テつ Bernhard, thank you.テつ You're statistically the best putter on the tour.テつ What do you have to do here?テつ What is the challenge of the greens here, and especially yesterday you spent about ten minutes on the 18th.テつ Did you spend more time on there today, and in general what do you see on the greens here?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Well, the 18th is so big you can spend an hour on there trying to chart that thing down, I think, and all the slopes and undulations.テつ But you know, whenever it's a brand new golf course that you haven't seen and there's so much movement on the greens, you just want to make sure you know where you want to go and where you don't want to go.
Typically on this course it's fairly simple.テつ You want to be below the hole, which sounds simple, but when they put the pin four yards on, it's hard to stay below the hole.テつ So you gotta have some downhill, side‑hill putts no matter what.テつ And if you miss the fairways, you could be coming in from all angles and different places.テつ But 18 is a unique green.テつ Never seen anything like it, and I just saw it, I'll spend a couple of extra minutes looking it over and writing down some of the humps and bumps.テつ So I have the correct distance to all of those.

Q.テつ What is the motivation for you in golf right now?テつ How much do you still enjoy playing and competing?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Well, most of us just love to compete.テつ That's what made us come this far, you know.テつ There's a reason why we're still playing competitive golf at age 50 and 60, and it's the competitive nature.テつ It's the drive to win, the drive to succeed and to become better even at our age.テつ And I think most of us have that.テつ If you don't have that, you're not going to make it out here.テつ You're going to fall to the wayside and lose your exemption sooner or later.

Q.テつ And what exactly was the issue with your thumb?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Oh, I had a torn ligament right here.テつ It had to be repaired, and surgically repaired.テつ So instead of being good after two or three months it took seven months. テつBut it is what it is.

Q.テつ I know you play in the Masters every year and you still are competitive in that event, even though they've lengthened the golf course.テつ Tom Lehman was in here earlier and talking about still having an interest in playing some U.S. Opens, particularly in Marion next year which will only be about 6900 yards.テつ Would you consider playing in that?テつ I mean obviously if you won here, you'd be exempt, but would you even try maybe playing in a qualifier to play an event like that where you might have some ‑‑ a valid chance of winning?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Yeah.テつ I would probably consider it.テつ At my stage of my career I don't play a lot of qualifiers, to tell you the truth.テつ You know, if I'm in the championship, then I most likely would play.テつ But I don't want to go to too many Monday qualifiers and play 36 holes in a day and that kind of stuff.
I've had my chances.テつ I've enjoyed the ride, and I enjoy the Champions Tour.テつ But if I'm in ‑‑ you know, I was in the British Open last year and I played in it, badly.テつ It was sad timing because I couldn't play the way I want to play with my thumb and I couldn't practice, so I didn't do very well, but I do enjoy playing the Masters, even though it plays very, very long.テつ It's one of the longer courses on the regular TOUR.テつ But I still feel like I can compete there.テつ I've had some good rounds there and just haven't put two or three or four good rounds together, but I've had ‑‑ still feel I can shoot under par around there.

Q.テつ Is there a little dテδゥjテδ vu between Indianwood and Sahalee in that you didn't see Sahalee before.テつ You were coming off a time lag and you're putting and playing well.テつ Is there some kind of thing you can connect there?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Not quite because I have seen Sahalee before.テつ I've played actually two tournaments there before we played the Senior Open there.テつ I played the PGA Championship and the World Championship or something like that.テつ So I knew the golf course, and it hadn't changed a great deal.テつ While this one I don't know it.テつ Time‑change‑wise it's somewhat similar, yes.テつ This is six hours.テつ Sahalee was nine hours or eight hours, I think it was, from England.テつ But we all deal with some jet lag.テつ Some of the guys came from Pebble.テつ That's only three hours.テつ But I got a little more to deal with.
Hopefully by ‑‑ I wish I would have had an early tee time on Thursday, give me another day, because I feel great in the morning, but I have a 1:40 on Thursday.テつ That's going to be tough to play golf till 6:30 or something.テつ That's way past midnight.テつ And it'll be a tough one, but hopefully I'll make it through there and then I should be good the rest of the week.

Q.テつ You play golf worldwide and Wilfred Reid designed this golf course here.テつ Does it remind you of any courses you've seen in the U.K. at all?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ It looks a bit lengthy, as we all know, even though we're in the middle of the country basically.テつ But it does have that links‑type look.テつ Lots of mounds and the tall grass, the wispy grass.テつ But no, it doesn't really remind me of anything.テつ You know, the odd hole reminds me of some hole I've seen somewhere else, but it's pretty unique, I think.テつ A lot of the greens are elevated.テつ The bunkers are not on the edge of the green.テつ They're actually removed several yards.テつ They're all quite low so you always have to come up to the green and then most of the greens slope away from you because they all slope from the side toward the center.テつ So you don't want to shortside yourself.テつ You don't want to be long.テつ There's lots of don'ts.テつ So it takes some very precise iron shots and some good tee shots to be able to even hit those iron shots, and then you still need to have an adept touch with the putter because these greens are very, very severe.テつ You're hardly ever going to get a straight putt here.

Q.テつ You and others have commented on the 18th green.テつ How do you navigate and approach that since it's such a unique hole?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Well, it's not easy because first of all, it's a very long second shot.テつ Like today I hit hybrid in there and so it all depends where the wind is and how good your tee shot is.テつ But with such a long club and you have like four or five or six of these mounds, if you pitch it into the mound, it will stop pretty quick.テつ If you hit the downslope, it could run 25 yards.テつ And that's why I took a little extra time to make sure I have the measurement to each of those mounds, and hopefully hit a good enough shot to control the distance so I don't have a 30‑yard putt over two mounds, which could easily lead to a 3‑putt.

Q.テつ Speaking of precision and all that, would you consider if they move the tees up on the ninth hole trying the driver on that hole if you need to, if you need to make up some shots?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ It all depends where the pin position is, where the wind is.テつ I did hit a driver off that tee today.テつ I went about 20 yards forward in case they move the tee up some.テつ And just had one gorse, because you can't see anything.テつ You're going straight over the trees and I didn't know how far to cut off.テつ So I just took one shot and it ended up in the left rough.テつ It was a good shot.テつ It wasn't exactly where I aimed it, but I had to go another 15 yards further right to go near the mouth ‑‑ the entrance of the green.テつ But it really depends where the pin is, because if you take a shot at it, you're not going to make the green.テつ You're going to end up in the rough, maybe the bunker, and it's not an easy shot from 20, 30 yards out of that rough to control the spin and distance and all that and stop it on the green.

Q.テつ Just as a follow‑up, Gerry James was just in there.テつ He said there's about a 15 or 20‑foot area landing zone if you want to put it on the green.テつ Is it that small?

Q.テつ On 9, yeah, with the driver.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ If you ‑‑ oh, with a driver?テつ Yeah.テつ It's ‑‑ no, it's bigger than 15 feet.テつ It's a difficult shot because you're going over the trees off the tee and then you have to carry more trees further down, then you have out of bounds.テつ So if you clip any of the branches or something, you know, you might be out of bounds, if you don't hit it solid enough or push it or any of that, and most likely you're not going to keep it on the fairway.テつ I almost want to bet if you hit ten tee shots from a forward tee, nine of them are going to be in the rough and it's not a simple shot out of the rough.

Q.テつ You're a very fit guy, Bernhard.テつ I wonder how much fitness is going to play into walking this golf course.テつ It doesn't look like the easiest golf course to get around.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ I was pretty tired the last two days.テつ The golf course is ‑‑ you know, I talked to a couple of media people yesterday, and they said, this is a really short golf course.テつ It didn't play short.テつ I don't know what you're talking about.

Q.テつ It's pretty hilly.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Well, it's hilly.テつ Secondly, there's not much run on the fairways.テつ Thirdly, it shows 6850 or whatever on the score card, but we're playing par 70.テつ So if you add 400 yards for two shots or 350 or whatever you want to add, then you're looking at 7200.テつ That's not a short golf course for seniors when the fairways are soft.
I had to disagree with those two guys.

Q.テつ But fitness in general, just being able to walk the golf course, keep your concentration, keep your energy, it will be tough?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Yes.テつ It will take its toll, especially the forecast is looking at 90 degrees the next few days.テつ It's pretty hot out there and there isn't much shade and it's going to take, whatever, four and a half hours to play, minimum.テつ So that's a long time out there, with an hour warmup, you're looking at close to six hours out in the heat.テつ And it'll take a reasonably fit guy, I believe, to win.
JOE GOODE:テつ 2010 U. S. Senior Open champion, Bernhard Langer, thanks for being with us.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ You're welcome.

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