THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the interview area, Bernhard Langer. Bernhard is playing in his second U.S.Senior Open, last year he tied for sixth at Broadmoore. He has 65 worldwide tour and eight Championship victories, including four in 2009. He just came from the British Open where he finished fourth. Bernhard, tell us about the challenges of playing back-to-back and the challenges of playing every week.
BERNHARD LANGER: We were wondering, the young guys don't have to play back-to-back majors, and us old guys do, so it doesn't make sense. I'm sure there is a reason behind that. But, I can speak for everybody out here, we would love to have a few weeks between the marriages so we can get prepared and get to 100%.
THE MODERATOR: What are your expectations this week and what were they for last week?
BERNHARD LANGER: I've been playing nicely for the last few weeks, looking forward to this golf course, very challenging. As Tiger would say you need your "A" game, hit precise off the tee, and you need a good touch around the greens and on the greens as well.
So expectations are fairly high. I've done well the last few weeks that I've played and hoping to do well this week.
Q. I don't recall, did you play here in the PGA in '91 and if so, tell us what you might remember about it?
BERNHARD LANGER: I did play, and I don't remember a whole lot about it, so I must not have played very well or for whatever reason. I remember that John Daly won but that's about it.
Q. Didn't recognize any of the holes in the practice round?
BERNHARD LANGER: A couple but not too many, so I don't know if they made changes, or I don't remember the holes.
But what I did notice is how different the greens are from the front nine to the back nine; it's almost like a different set of greens-- the undulation and the severity of them.
Q. Bernhard, you shot 65, 65 on the weekend, do you feel like you're carrying that momentum? Can you talk about how well you played after a bad start?
BERNHARD LANGER: How well I played when?
Q. After a slow start.
BERNHARD LANGER: The first day I shot 72, last week, and after that-- and I didn't play all that bad. I missed a number of 8 or 10-footers, 3 or 4 of them, and drove it in a bunker once to try to hit it out of a-- with a sand wedge, and I shot 72, which could have been a 68 or a 67, but it wasn't. So I had to dig myself out of hole and I played well after that, 67 Friday and two 65s on the weekend.
Q. How about the golf course, conditioning, how it fits you? What do you think of Crooked Stick?
BERNHARD LANGER: Conditioning is awesome. I think everything is in very, very good shape. The fairways are beautiful, the greens putt very well. The rough is pretty consistent, so are the bunkers. So it's a well-conditioned golf course from the start to the end, or the beginning to the end, whatever you want to call it.
As I said, the only thing I notice is that the front nine greens are flatter and then you get on the back nine and there are some really severe greens, some pretty long holes, too. So it all depends on the wind.
I like that you have to shape some tee balls. I think it helps to shape them, not just to hit them straight.
If we don't get a whole lot more rain, it should be fairly firm out there.
Q. Bernhard, would you expect, given the greens are different front to back, that the scoring opportunities are on the front side?
BERNHARD LANGER: I would believe so, unless-- you know, depends how they set up the tee boxes. They have opportunities to move forward or move backwards on some of the holes, and I think they will. So all that plays a role and it matters where the wind is coming from as well.
I would imagine the scoring on the front nine will be lower than on the back nine.
Q. Any particular holes that you like?
BERNHARD LANGER: There is a lot of great holes out there, not just one or two. There's a lot of good holes. There are also a few greens that are extremely severe, though. Might have to take a wedge to play from one part of the green to the other.
THE MODERATOR: Were there moments in your career where you've done that, played wedge shots on greens?
BERNHARD LANGER: One time in 35 years.
Q. Can you talk about-- as we go on, guys are kind of leaving the PGA Tour reluctantly after turning 50 out here. Can you talk about that decision for you. How excited were you about the prospect of senior golf originally and your outlook, has it changed since you've been out here on this Tour and since you've been having so much success?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think it was exciting to see something exciting and different. I've been on the PGA Tour and the European Tour; I've done that, been there, don't have much to prove, so it was exciting to get to a new Tour and be one of the youngest not the oldest and to be in contention a lot more often than I would be on the regular Tour, to see new cities, new golf courses, new places, all of that was exciting.
The other thing I liked was to play tournaments where most of them are three days so we get to go home Sunday night for a couple of days. We have three kids-- four kids, three of them still at home, and it's important to be at home when I'm playing a tournament as much as I can, which I couldn't do on the regular Tour.
There were a lot of benefits, obviously, a couple of negatives. But, overall, I'm excited to be on the Champion's Tour. And I think it will continue to grow in strength because the guys on the PGA Tour or any other Tour around the world are realizing how good of a Tour it is. They only have, whatever, maybe ten years out here if you're healthy and good enough, then that's pretty much the end of playing professional golf.
Q. Was it hard for you to let go?
BERNHARD LANGER: At first I thought it would be, but after three or four weeks I realized that I don't miss the regular Tour too much at all. And this is really an exciting Tour to be a part of. A lot of my friends who I have known for many years are out here with me; we have a lot more in common.
There is not too many, really new faces that you haven't seen or heard of. You know, basically playing about the same -- against the same guys that you played for a very long time, a lot of Hall of Famers, a lot of legends of the game and a lot of name players out here so it's a lot of fun.
Q. Bernard, do you think it's a matter of time before a player in his early, mid-, or late 50 wins an event against elite competition?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I believe it will happen. The thing is there is only very few who get an opportunity to play, only the past champions are in the tournament. Because once you leave the Tour, you don't get world ranking points anymore and there is no other way to be exempt, and so it's difficult to get into these majors unless you were a past champion. So there are only a few of us playing but it's still going to happen even though there only might be a handful.
And the reason is because, as I said, the guys are staying fit, they work out more than they used to, they're more experienced, their swings might be better.
There are a number of guys who swing better than they did 20 years ago because they've had 20 years to practice, they know more about the game, they have more knowledge about the technique, more shots. And, yes, you lose some flexibility, you lose a little bit of strength, so you lose some distance, but you can make up for some of that in other departments.
Q. Could you win another Master's, or has that golf course gotten too big?
BERNHARD LANGER: The Master's is one of the longest courses we play, period. So that's a little harder, but something like a British Open or other courses where length is not everything, where you really need to shape the ball a little more, keep it in play, I think on those courses that older guys have a good chance.
Q. Bernard, as the top player on this Tour this year so far, what were you thinking when Watson did what he did two weeks ago?
BERNHARD LANGER: I was rooting for him, I thought it was great, I knew he could do it.
I've played with Tom many times, and he's one of the guys who swings the club better than he did many years ago. With him, he can think his way around the golf course. He's got all the shots. If it's not all distance, I mean, he still hits it, whatever, 280, 290, which is long enough.
Like the Master's where guys hit it 340 or 330, that extra forty yards makes it more difficult but on other golf courses, it's more about hitting the fairway than hitting it 30 or 40 yards down there. It was fantastic.
He hit two good shots on 18 as well. He was unlucky to get that bounce, hitting the 8-iron into the green off the fairway, and I don't know why that didn't stop; otherwise, we would have a different winner right now.
Q. We've seen you and your son play in the father-son; he's caddied for you; what's he doing these days? What are his plans?
BERNHARD LANGER: He was caddying for me for five months and stopped two weeks ago at the 3M Championship. He's now taking a couple of weeks off and going to college, University of Tampa, starting in about four weeks.
Q. He is going to study what?
BERNHARD LANGER: Business.
THE MODERATOR: Bernhard, thank you for your time, good luck this weekend.