What they said: Bernhard LangerMarch 10, 2011
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Toshiba Classic transcript archive
DAVE SENKO: Bernhard, thanks for joining us. You come in off a victory at the Ace Group Classic, a record setting win there. You have had success here. Maybe just talk about where your game is right now going into this week's tournament
BERNHARD LANGER: I think the game is in pretty decent shape. We had two weeks off, so you never know. But I seem to be hitting the ball all right. It was obviously a nice win there in Naples a couple of weeks ago. I played pretty solid golf there. I drove it well and putted well, and that's always key if you can make some putts, you're going to be up there.
I'm looking forward to this. It looks like we're going to have a great week of wonderful weather and conditions, a pretty strong field. We should have a great champion this week.
DAVE SENKO: Questions?
Q. Did you give Freddie any grief for ducking you at Naples? He was at Riviera that week.
BERNHARD LANGER: I know. It's not my place to give him any grief. He needs to do and know what's best for him, and I'm sure the people in Naples were disappointed that he didn't defend.
I can also understand that he loves Riviera and wants to play there a couple of more times. But, whatever, I'm sure he gave it a lot of thought and that's his decision, and has nothing to do with me.
Q. He almost one it there??
BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, I know. I saw it. He is playing well. He is capable of winning anywhere.
Q. Yourself, are you playing any PGA events this year??
BERNHARD LANGER: I'm playing The Masters and two on European Tour -- British Open, BMW Germany, that's it.
Q. When you see the likes of Freddie and John Cook and Tom Lehman finishing Top 25 on the regular TOUR, does it give you any thoughts or inspiration that you might want to try a couple PGA TOUR events??
BERNHARD LANGER: No, not really. I love this Tour. I've been on that TOUR so many years, the European Tour, PGA TOUR. It was great. I don't miss it a great deal. It doesn't do a whole lot to play two events there a year. If you want to play that TOUR, play it full time. But I think bouncing back and forth doesn't do a whole lot. That's my outlook. Everybody is different.
Some guys still enjoy playing out there. Some still think they need to prove something out there.
I have been there, done that, moving on. I am very happy with this Tour; great competition, great camaraderie. Some nice places. I enjoy my time off, too. I don't need to add more tournaments into my schedule. I've done that for many years.
I started when I was 18 on TOUR. Somebody like Fred Funk started much later. So I got a lot more years under my hat than he does. I don't need more tournaments.
Q. You contend almost anywhere you play. What do you think about this layout, this course??
BERNHARD LANGER: This is a wonderful layout. It had to be a great course 30 years ago, you know, in terms of being tough. Now it's one of the shorter courses that we play. But the scores aren't that crazy around here because you are dealing with the greens that are kind of tricky and small. You have a little bit of wind. Sometimes a lot of wind. And then the poa annua greens makes it hard to hole a lot of putts.
Q. How much more competitive has the Champions Tour become in the last couple of years, with the newcomers, compared to when you first stepped out here??
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I thought it was pretty competitive when I came out three-and-a-half years ago. But it's only going to get more and more competitive every year because the older guys who were very good, they are not going to leave. Someone like Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Tom Watson, they are still going to be around because they are just that good. They love to compete. They love to win.
And yet, every few months, you are going to have more guys coming out, and they realize this is a great Tour. It's a lot of fun to play a few more years in your 50s. So it's like you have this broad base, and you only have 78 guys playing. It gets pretty tough at the top.
Q. I have seen different totals for your win totals around the world, do you have any idea, is it 80, 85??
BERNHARD LANGER: I think I am over 90 now. They keep saying 84. They keep saying it is 84. I won eight events. I would have to sit down and add it up. It's into the 90s.
Q. You win one more every year that you're out here -- three, four, five. Six this year??
BERNHARD LANGER: That would be a nice problem to have. It's a long ways to go. There is a lot of competition out here. It's not easy to win. It only takes a couple of mistakes, and you are not going to win. It may be easier to finish in the Top 20 on a regular basis, week after week, but it's not easy to win. It's a lot of competition.
Q. Been there, done that mentality, when did you start feeling that way about going back and forth??
BERNHARD LANGER: About what? The two tours? About three weeks after I was out here.
Q. Do you think that helped you to just focus on this Tour??
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know. Everyone is different, as I said. I'm very satisfied here. I really enjoy this Tour. I love it. And I don't miss anything.
I had the Honda Classic, which is 40 minutes from my house last week, and I probably could have played that. Especially after having two weeks off before this and two more weeks off. So it would have been an easy one to play for me and I didn't even play that. I think that tells it, pretty much.
Q. Yesterday, Tom Watson said no one works harder than you on the Champions Tour. Talk about that a bit. Is that something you take pride in as far as the work you put in??
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't take pride in it. I've always worked hard. I grew up that way. I expect a lot from myself, and I feel I need to put something in to have some expectations. If I don't work at it, and I just show up to have a good time, I'm not sure I have the same expectation level. So I've always been a hard worker.
If I'm the one that works the hardest, I'm not sure. I see Tom Kite working awfully hard for a 61 year old, and a bunch of other guys, too. Denis Watson was one guy who worked from morning until night every day. So there is a bunch of us out there that still enjoy practicing. And I enjoy practicing.
Q. Do you practice as much now as you did when you were on TOUR??
BERNHARD LANGER: No. At home, I would practice similar when I am out. When I'm home, I put the clubs away and do nothing for days. And when I do some, it's for an hour or two. But I really have time off when I go home. I took six weeks off. I didn't even see a golf club in November, December. I would never do that when I was younger.
Q. From what you hear from your peers, and your fellow players, what is it about this tournament that's so attractive to having a Lee Trevino making an appearance out here, and Ian Baker-Finch making this his Champions Tour debut??
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, you would have to ask Lee Trevino why this is the only one that he comes back to. But I think it's a beautiful place to start off with. We usually have very good weather here. It's a fun golf course to play. For Lee, as I said, it's one of the shorter golf courses we play. It's more playable for him than if we play another 400 yards longer or 500. And I think they've just treated him well.
The organization here does a wonderful job. (Toshiba Classic Executive Director) Jeff Purser, who is heading up running the event, is doing a phenomenal job. The whole community gets behind it like nowhere else. When you look at the money they are raising year after year, it's better than anybody else on our Tour. It just feels like a big family, almost. It feels great.
DAVE SENKO: Bernhard, I asked a couple of guys yesterday about going to Shoal Creek this year, what are your thoughts on going there for The Tradition?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't remember a whole lot about Shoal Creek. I think I was there once in the '80's or something. I might have missed the cut. So I don't really have a lot of memories of specific holes. I remembered it was a great golf course, and probably still is, and everybody talks highly about it. But I don't remember any great details of it. I'm excited to have a chance to go back there and hopefully do better than the last time.
DAVE SENKO: Thanks, Bernhard.
BERNHARD LANGER: Thank you.