July 10, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, Bernhard, to the interview room at the Constellation Senior Championship.
We'll start off with your history. You have an incredible history. You won three consecutive years; second place last year. Can you talk about the emotions coming back to a tournament that you know you play so well in?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's obviously a lot of fun. I'm having great memories, especially playing different golf courses. Sometimes you get to a golf course that you really enjoy and you play very well, but in this instance they were all different venues. I was just fortunate enough to play some really good golf on different venues.
They was all great venues, and so is this one. I was able to play it this morning and really enjoyed the golf course. The condition is phenomenal. Yeah, I've just had a fantastic run with this event.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about a little bit your season this year so far and your competition up to this point.
BERNHARD LANGER: Season has been good. Started a little bit slower than some of the other years, but got it back on track where I had a number of opportunities for victory and finally pulled one off in Houston. Lost a couple of playoffs.
But it's been pretty steady stuff. Just not outstanding yet, so still working on that part.
THE MODERATOR: Yeah. Are there any other courses in Chicago that you've played? Have you been to Illinois much?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, over the years I've played a few, but on this trip I just came in last night. I'm going to be here until Sunday and head over the British Open.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions.
Q. Obviously you've won many places, many venues. Does this kind of course set up for you? If so, why?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I think if you play well you can win on most courses, so it's not so much the course or the setup.
But I do like the golf course. I think it's all right there in front of you. There is no trickery about it. It's in beautiful shape. I like the grasses that you have up here. Somewhat I'm used to from Germany, I think, from Europe, even though I live in Florida now full time. But we have totally different grasses.
Yeah, it's just all right there. There is a premium on putting the ball in the right place, and the fairways are -- they look kind of wide at times, but they get pretty narrow at other times.
The bunkers can be punishing.
A little bit of water as well.
And the greens have quite a few slopes to them, pitches to them. You know, it's going to be a little harder than it looks I think. Then you generally get some breezes up here, too, right, up around the lake?
Q. Yes, you do. It's an old Donald Ross course. Does it remind you of any other you've played?
BERNHARD LANGER: First look reminded me a little bit of this tournament when we played it in Philadelphia. The Cricket Club looked a little bit like that, yeah.
Q. You've won this in the past and been able to play the PLAYERS Championship Sawgrass. What sort of motivation is that to know a win can get you back to compete against the younger guys?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, we don't need any more motivation. It's a major. It's a big tournament for us. We're all geared up to do the best we can. It's a nice bonus to getting to back to the PLAYERS Championship one more time.
Q. With Carnoustie, you've won there. What does it take to play well?
BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, that's a brutal course. I don't know how it's set up, but 1999 when I played the Open Championship there I think that was the worst setup I've ever seen in a British Open. That wasn't much fun.
I have no idea how it looks right now. I heard they had a heat wave over there, so that probably means we're going to get all the cold and the wet. You never know.
Just depends which way the wind blows, how strong it is. But it's going to be a very difficult test no matter what the conditions are.
Q. It's been about three weeks now. Are you over the World Cup and kind of maybe that disaster?
BERNHARD LANGER: No. We're right in the middle of it. I just watched Belgium v. France here a minute ago.
Q. But your Germany, I mean...
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, my Germany was never in it, let's put it that way. They were so bad even qualifying. They never looked good, so I didn't have any hopes that they would go very far. I was not surprised that they got knocked out pretty early.
But it's still a fun tournament to watch. Now France is in the final and England or Croatia is going to battle it out tomorrow. See who makes it.
Q. You know more than anyone how hard it is to win majors out here. We've had six different players win the last six majors. Do you think it's gotten even harder because of how deep the PGA Tour Champions has gotten?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I believe it's going to get harder because you have so many -- you know, I think two weeks I was asked how many players could win? They said, So there are about 15, 20 guys that can win. I said, Are you kidding me? There at least 50, maybe 60, who could win on any given week.
When you look at the depth we have out here, that's what it is. There are very, very few if you have a field of -- well last week I had a field of -- or two weeks ago -- 150. Even if you have a field of 80 there are at least 50 or 60 that could win at any time. They're that good.
There is a lot of interest on our tour. It's the best Senior Tour anywhere in the world. We have players from all over the world competing. Not just from Europe, but from Australia, Japan, South Africa, everywhere. They want to be here. And a lot of great American players.
So it's just you got to be really good to just be on the tour. That makes it then much harder to win any tournament, but especially a major when everybody is pretty much participating.
Q. Is that what keeps you going? As these young kids keep coming in, do you still want to prove yourself?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't think I need to prove myself to tell you the truth. I just enjoy the game, the competition, and meeting new people and seeing new places is still a lot of fun.
So that's what brings me out here. I just love competing and playing.
Q. With winning this event, obviously get the exemption into the PLAYERS at Sawgrass, which is now going to March. What are your memories? How will it play different from March until then?
BERNHARD LANGER: I remember playing most of my PLAYER Championships in March. That's when we used to have it, before the Masters. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it.
Probably get more wind, maybe a little cooler temperatures. That's really I think the difference. They changed the grasses on the course so I don't know how that will affect any of that. It's always a good test of golf.
Q. In your fitness routine as you get 60 and above, anything different you do now as opposed to when you were younger to stay fresh and at the top of your game?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah. I can't do certain things that I did when I was young. I used to love jogging and running and I can't do that anymore. My back doesn't take it any longer.
So I just have to revert to other things, whether it's bicycle riding or walking the treadmill uphill or something like that. What I do more is stretching. I stretch more now than I probably ever have in my life.
Q. Is that something you would encourage younger players to do, like focus on stretching to keep their...
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, the younger guys probably doesn't need it so much in their 20s and 30s. As you get older, you do.
There are types that are very loose and relaxed. I was always more stiff, so I needed to stretch probably more than most people do.
Q. (Regarding Akron.)
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, that would be a great venue to go back to. I remember it vividly. One of my first tournaments ever in the U.S.
It's a great place to play. They're used to having big tournaments there, so I think we're going to have large crowds, good support, and be fantastic to go back to Akron.
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