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THE SENIOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY ROLEX


July 26, 2012


Bernhard Langer


TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND

SCOTT CROCKETT:   Bernhard, thanks, as always, for coming in and joining us, well done this morning and this afternoon, very, very good start to your championship.  Give us your thoughts on that excellent 64.
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, thank you, very pleased with the way I played today.  Played smart, played well, hit some good drives, good iron shots and made a few putts, maybe left a couple of putts out there, as well.  But overall, it was very, very solid.  No blemishes.
The only trouble really I had was the 18th.¬† I drove it in the fairway bunker but I checked in practice, and that's maybe the only one on the whole golf course where you have a chance to reach the green.¬† So I didn't reach the green but I got close enough to get it up‑and‑down.¬† As I said, it's pretty solid stuff.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Anything in particular pleasing today, or just right across the game?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† Yeah, it was just pretty good.¬† Hit a lot of fairways.¬† Didn't put myself in any‑‑ well, except 18, any of the pot bunkers.¬† I didn't put myself in the rough very often.¬† Drove it good.¬† Hit some really good iron shots and made a few putts.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Give us the details of your six birdies, you birdied 2 and 3.  What did you do there?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† No.2 was a driver and a 6‑iron to about 12 feet.
3 was a 3‑wood, 4‑iron to probably 15 feet.
The par5, 7 was a driver 3‑wood, two putts from 30 feet, 35 feet, something like that.
11 was a 7‑iron and about an 18‑footer.
And 12 was a driver, 4‑iron, about a 16‑footer.
17, driver, 3‑wood to the edge of the green, two putts from 50 feet.

Q.  You had a close one at the U.S. Open, the previous major does it still hurt as much when you have a close call, and does that fire you up this week to make up for it?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† It still hurts.¬† It's going to hurt a while.¬† That's golf.¬† My goal was to shoot 2‑under par on Sunday, and I didn't; I shot 2‑over.¬† And Roger played a great round of golf and I can't take that away from him.¬† I had it in me, or it was my tournament to win or to lose, and I just didn't perform well enough on Sunday.
But I take a lot of positives away from it.  It was some of the best golf I've played in my whole life.  Certainly the first three rounds.  And even Sunday, there was a lot of good on Sunday, too.  Just didn't hole a lot of putts.

Q.  Does that give you more motivation?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Yeah, I've always got plenty of motivation, but maybe that little bit more.  But we're okay.  We have a lot of golf left.  The weather is going to get foul on the weekend if the forecast is right, so hopefully they are wrong and we have more days like this.

Q.  Can you talk about how the course has been set up this week?  Your 64 is a great score but apparently it's not easy at all.  How does it compare in length and difficulty to courses you've played this year?
BERNHARD LANGER:  It's playing very long.  Someone said this course is playing longer than they played last week at The Open Championship.  And we are seniors and they are young and strong.

Q.  Should that be the case?
BERNHARD LANGER:  Well, I don't think it should, but that's what it is.  And it's the same for everybody, but it is playing long.  I mean, we had a beautiful day today, very little wind and warm.  And I hit a lot of long clubs into some of these par 4s, a lot of long clubs.
If the weather turns bad or gets cold, the ball goes shorter.  It will be really challenging.

Q.  Is it actually longer in yardage than most of the courses or the Senior Tour and Champions Tour is playing long?
BERNHARD LANGER:  I don't know, how long is it?
SCOTT CROCKETT:  7,105.
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† For a par 70, that's very long.¬† If you take two more 4‑irons of 200 yards each or something like, that so now you're looking at 750, par 72.¬† That's a heck of a distance for seniors.¬† There's not many 7,500‑yard courses that the regular tour plays on, I believe.¬† And now, with the course being soft, it's playing long, anyways.¬† You don't get the run that you sometimes expect on a firm links course.¬† It's fairly soft at this time, so we'll see how it works out the next few days.¬† But it is playing long.

Q.  You were the last winner of this tournament on Scottish soil at Carnoustie; do you feed off the memories of that?
BERNHARD LANGER:  That was certainly one of the highlights of my career.  I enjoyed that week tremendously.  I have a lot of fond memories from that week, and obviously it helps to have won a tournament.
And I like links golf, anyways.  It's just fun to hit off that kind of turf and you really have to think your way around some of these golf courses, not just hit driver, blast it away and find it and hit it again.  That's what makes it so much fun.

Q.  You've probably almost certainly seen all this chat about the long putters and everything.  Where do you stand on the course to ban it and how the USGA and R&A are looking at it?
BERNHARD LANGER:  The thing I don't understand, they have been talking about it for seven, eight, nine years now, right, at least.  And the long putter has been out 30 years, 35 years now, I don't know how long it's been in action.  To me, it's a little surprising that they are trying to get rid of something that's been out that long and used by a number of people.
The other thing is, I find it interesting that if the long putter is so easy to use, why isn't there 90 per cent of the players using the long putter.  If it's easier, why doesn't everybody use it?  What's the percentage of guys using the long putter?  Ten per cent, 20 at the most.
Why aren't the other 75 per cent going to it if it's that much of an advantage or better or easier?  That's my opinion on it.  But what does my opinion matter.

Q.  So you don't think they should ban it?  They are doing it because certainly three of the last four Major winners have used belly or a long.
BERNHARD LANGER:  So it was okay until somebody won a Major, and then it's not okay?  I don't take that argument whatsoever, sorry.  There were guys using it for 25 years, nobody won a Major, 30 years; and now because two or three guys have won, it's illegal?  That doesn't make sense.

Q.  Would you say this is a course that suits your eye?  I noticed you finished inside of third in '86 when Greg went around; how much has it changed since then, and would you say it's a course that suits your eye?
BERNHARD LANGER:  When you hit it where you're looking, any course suits your game or your eye, as you call it.  But you've got to hit it where you're looking.  And if your swing is on, you can do that.  If not, nothing will suit you whatsoever.  But it is a course where you have to think.
As I said a few minutes ago, you have to really have an idea where you want to position yourself, and you can take chances.  You take some of the bunkers on with the tee shot, and if you don't pull off the right shot, you're going to pay the price.  Or you play a little safer, and then you're going to have a lot more club into the green, which makes it harder, too.
But it is one of those courses where you can't just blast it away and think you're going to get away with it all the time.

Q.¬† Safe to say you were probably one of the first high‑profile players to use the long putter.¬† Do you remember when you first started using it, was there a resistance or resentment to you going with it at the time?
BERNHARD LANGER:  It was interesting, I'm not sure if I was one of the first.  Sam Torrance had been using it for a long time.  Sam Snead might have been one of the first to have gone to a longer putter.  And there were a bunch of other Americans that were pretty well known.  And I actually just played at The Belfry some year, and I was putting okay this way, and Sam Torrance was there and he said, "You should try the long putter."  
I said, "Well, I don't think, so but let me have a go with yours."  So he handed me his putter and I said, "What do you do?  How did you hold it?"  And he was holding it here and I couldn't do that.
So all these years, I tried a couple, and it felt like the putter head was going all over the place and my putts were not even close to where I was looking at, and I said, I'll never use that thing again, or unlikely.  And then two or three years later, I tried it again, spent several weeks really working hard on it, and practising a lot with it, and got somewhat comfortable with it and put it into play.

Q.  Has anyone from the R&A or USGA ever spoken to you about the long putter?  And as part of the process that they are involved in now, do you think they should talk to players like yourself and Sam and get views on what they should be doing?
BERNHARD LANGER:¬† Well, they are talking to all of the other players, so why aren't they talking to us, too.¬† You hear all of these quotes from Gary Player or Luke Donald or whoever else, all of the guys who use the short putter, they are all being quoted; yeah, we need to ban the long putter.¬† Why don't they ask some of us and quote us, too, just to make it fair.¬† They are going to decide whatever they are going to decide eventually, anyways.¬† I even played with Peter Dawson in the Pro‑Am yesterday or two days ago and he didn't bring it up.

       Q.  So no-one from the R&A has actually spoken to you about it?
BERNHARD LANGER:  No they haven’t.

Q.¬† Do you think when these players ‑‑ talking about it, do you think it values unfairly someone like Webb Simpson or even Ernie last week winning?
BERNHARD LANGER:  I think it does, because it takes a lot of practice.  It's not like, oh, take a long putter and it's automatically going in the whole.  That's a bunch of baloney.  It takes a lot of practice.  You've still got to make a stroke.  It's not like give me that and it's automatically a good stroke.  No way.
I've made some horrible strokes with the long putter.  In many way, it's actually harder, believe it or not, because you have a longer thing to move and you have to be even more precise with it.  It's easier to move a chopstick in a precise manner than to move a longer broomstick or something like that to talk of length of putters, I believe.
So obviously there's some advantages, too.  But by no means is it easier because otherwise, everybody would be using them, and they are not.

Q.  Why do you think it offends people that call themselves the traditionalists?
BERNHARD LANGER:  I don't know.  I guess they want to ride the traditional thing, whatever that is.  I mean, I agree with the Rules of Golf that we need to respect the etiquette.  You give yourself penalty shots when you move the ball or something happens.  You want to always conduct yourself in the right manner, and we need to pass that on, that's for sure.
But that's what I'm saying.  It's kind of weird that something that's been in play for that long to now just come up and say, well, we think it's illegal now; it was okay 20 years ago, 30, but now it's not.

Q.  Is that your main concern, is the timing, rather than the actual debate; it should have been sorted out an awful long time ago and you can see the point that people are making?
BERNHARD LANGER:  If it was an unfair advantage, or whatever you want to call it, why didn't they ban it immediately or within a year or two when they saw the first few guys, and say, that's not right, let's do something about it.  That's certainly one thing that bothers me.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Well done today.  Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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