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May 21, 2014

Bernhard Langer


KELLY ELBIN:テつ The only multiple winner on the 2014 Champions Tour, Bernhard Langer joining us at the 75th Senior PGA Championship Presented By KitchenAid.テつ This will be Bernhard's sixth Senior PGA Championship.テつ You tied for fourth here in 2012, closing with a 65.テつ Welcome back and thoughts on this golf course and your chances, how you feel coming in.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Yeah, thanks, it's great to be back.テつ The golf course is in phenomenal shape, really good for this.テつ The tough winter they had, you know, it's really a tough test here.
It's a great layout, as I said probably two years ago, one of the best courses I know from tee to green.テつ The greens are in great shape.テつ They're very demanding, lots of humps and bumps and hollows and challenging stuff like that, so you better know what you're doing out there and hopefully get some decent breaks, too.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ You finished tied for 8th at the Masters.テつ Your worst finish on the Champions Tour this year was last week at Regions Tradition, you tied for ninth.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ I got to do better than that.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Are there some secrets to the success, I know you kept yourself in great shape, why do you continue to play so well.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ I don't know why exactly, but I believe in golf you can still get better as you get older and you mature.テつ It's not one of those games where you have to be young.テつ It's mostly technique and it's a lot of what goes on between the ears.テつ The technique, you can improve upon as you get older and more mature, because you've been doing it longer.テつ I played golf now for almost 50 years, so I should know, should have a better clue about my technique and my swing and what shot I can hit, what shot I can't hit, or where I need to improve than 20, 30 years ago.
That, by itself gives me hope that I can still get better.テつ If I can get better half a stroke a day, I would be two shots better a week, which is a lot.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ It would make all the difference in the world.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ Same with the short game or putting, you don't have to be fast, you don't have to be young to have a good short game.テつ So, we have been at it longer and there's still room for improvement.テつ Nobody's ever going to be perfect, we have learned that over the years.テつ The middle name of golf is inconsistency, I guess.テつ Every day somebody else shows up.
But that makes it more fun, that much more fun when you are somewhat consistent and consistently contending, which I have been very blessed to do that the last few years and it's a lot of fun.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Open it up for questions.

Q.テつ You had great success here last year or sometime, in 2012, finishing fourth, how do you get your self to the top podium though as opposed to kind of right there on the cusp?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Well, by playing four very good rounds, that's what it takes.テつ When have you a strong field like this, you can't have one or two bad or mediocre rounds, you got to have four good rounds.テつ That's the key.テつ It's not easy to do, but somebody will do it.テつ When you have that many players, there's always a handful or one or two that can pull it off.テつ So you just hope that your game peaks on the weeks when the Majors are around and you'll be one of those at the very top of the podium.

Q.テつ I remember seeing you about a year ago in Houston, you were experimenting or practicing with the Kuchar style of putting, I think it was.テつ Do you continue to experiment with a non‑anchored stroke away from competition in preparation for what's going to happen?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Not so much, no.テつ I have my hands full with competition right now and with tournaments and I don't really want to take away from that by practicing something else.
So I'm not going to seriously start anything until probably a month or two before, until the season is over, because whatever amount of time I do something else, it takes away from what I'm trying to do in competition and that doesn't make any sense.

Q.テつ How much does having experience winning Majors like the Masters help you win tournaments like this where you are against great fields and you can maybe get into your comfort zone knowing that you have won in the past?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Well, it certainly helps your confidence knowing that you have won Majors at any level and on different golf courses.テつ You know you've done it before, you can do it again.
The first one is probably always the hardest.テつ Once you've done it, you have a stronger belief that can you do it again.テつ We just compete against each other week after week and it's the same guys, it's not really more good players, just more players, but the top players, we play against each other week after week.
I know I can beat them and I know they can beat me and it often just comes down to one shot here or one putt there and you try to avoid major mistakes and, as I said, get some good breaks and hopefully the swing is on and the putter works, because it needs to.テつ Everything has to be pretty good, otherwise you're not going to be in the hunt.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Roger Chapman, who won here a couple of years ago said that he pretty much right away knew that this golf course fit his eye.テつ Do you get a sense of that when you first look at a golf course, that it appeals to you, to the way you shape a shot or do you simply try to learn as you go along and adapt?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ It's a little bit of both.テつ I think sometimes you just fall in love with a certain place and other times you feel a bit awkward, but most of the time, if you're a good enough player, you ought to be able to adapt to anything and figure a way out how to play each hole or how to play each shot.
If you're not comfortable with one, one hole or one shot, then figure a way out to get around it and play the hole in a different way.
There is different ways out here, some of these par‑5s you can attack or you can lay up and still make birdie hitting a full lob wedge or sand wedge into the greens.テつ So whatever you're comfortable with is what you need to do.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Any holes in particular on the back nine come Saturday or Sunday that might prove to be pivotal here.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Pretty much most of them.テつ I think that what I read was the water comes into play on 16 holes, is that correct?テつ So, there's lots of opportunities for penalty shots and if you don't hit the ball in the right place, there's no real easy hole, obviously the par‑5s are generally easier, but if you play them very aggressive and you are going for stuff, there's always the opportunity to make a big number as well.テつ But you can make an eagle or a birdie too.テつ So there's a number of holes out there where you can make birdies and you can pick up a bogey or double bogey at the very same time.

Q.テつ With the nature of these particular greens, having played it 72 holes before, plus some practice rounds, does it make it a bit easier this time around?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ It should help a little bit, yeah.テつ I think it might be a little bit harder for a first timer who hasn't seen the pin position that is we have seen two years ago and hasn't been in all the places where we might have been.
But a top player and a good caddie, between the two of them, if they play the course two or three times they ought to have some clue what to do, where to go, where not to go.テつ The key is hitting the ball where you're looking.テつ That's the key.テつ It's usually windy here as well, which makes it that much harder.

Q.テつ Have they adjusted any of the greens in two years or are they basically the same fur surfaces?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Same surfaces, except 17 was totally redone.テつ 17, used to be, the green went front right to back left.テつ Now facing the other way.テつ Totally new surface.テつ Much flatter.テつ They took a lot of the humps out.テつ But it's a totally new green.
So it might be a little bit firmer because it's new.テつ We know that whenever a green is redone or built from fresh, the surface is pretty firm for about a year or year and a half.テつ So I don't know, when did they redo that green?
KELLY ELBIN:テつ About a year ago.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ A year ago?テつ So we should just be getting into the process where it might soften up a bit, but I had a feeling that green was firmer.テつ I hit a 6‑iron in there yesterday or in the pro‑am and it didn't stop at all, it released like 20 yards.テつ So that's going to be a tough, if the pin's anywhere in the front, it might be tough to stop it.

Q.テつ Otherwise, they're the same?
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ Yeah.テつ Same speed.テつ Nothing else was changed, as far as I'm aware.
KELLY ELBIN:テつ Bernhard Langer, thank you very much.
BERNHARD LANGER:テつ You're welcome.テつ Thank you.

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