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European Ryder Cup Team Captain Bernhard Langer
European Ryder Cup Team Captain Bernhard Langer

Interview with Bernhard Langer, 2004 European Ryder Cup Captain

August 19, 2004

Interview with Bernhard Langer on Becoming Captain

Bernhard Langer gives his reaction on becoming European Ryder Cup Captain for The 35th Ryder Cup Matches, which will take place at Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Township, Michigan, United States, from September 17-19, 2004.

"I'm very happy it was a unanimous decision and that I've had a lot of support from everyone. I will do my utmost to do the job to the best of my abilities.

"I had several things to consider before I decided one way or another whether to stand for the job. I just wanted to sit down and reflect on what I thought was best for me and my family.

"I came to the conclusion that I think I am ready for the job. I was told I had to make a decision by the Open Championship and that decision was to make myself available.

"There's still a bit of life in me (as a player), but it's difficult to say what the future holds. In one way I would have loved to try to make the team again, but I took the decision to stand."

>What qualities do you feel you might bring to the job? >
"I think I know what I want. I have a lot of experience in The Ryder Cup, I believe I am a hard-worker and don't give up, I look for solutions to problems and face them head on.

"I also think I am straightforward and honest - what you see is what you get.

"It's a very big job now and I will find out in the next few months what it fully entails, but I've come to realise that there's no way any more that you can be Captain and play.

"It's become one of the biggest events in the whole of sport and I've seen for myself that Captains are exhausted by the time it is over. That was one of the considerations - what effect might it have on my playing career?

"Time will tell on that, but I will be giving the job 100 per cent.

"What has made The Ryder Cup so successful is how close all recent Matches have been, going right back to 1983. Every since then it's come down to the last few matches and it's created massive interest and brought out some great performances. People all over the world have taken to The Ryder Cup, not just in Europe and America."

Your thoughts on Hal Sutton? >
"He is a great character. I've always got along with him and he was among the first to call and congratulate me on my appointment.

"We did a few commercials together as Hogan players and I've always enjoyed his company. You can be sure we will both be doing all we can to make sure the Matches next year are played in the right spirit.

"It's harder to play away from home, there's no doubt. Home advantage is like having an extra man. As the records show we have not won many times in America, but we've also shown that it is possible.

"It's more of a challenge and obviously the atmosphere is a little more hostile when you are the away team. Playing at home you get an ovation every time you show your face.

"I wasn't in Boston four years ago and it's hard to experience a match on television because you only see what the camera shows. But I think both sides have made great strides and tremendous efforts to rectify the situation and to do everything that is possible so that the problems there do not happen again.

"I think Hal and I will talk to the players and have a word with the Press, too, and try to make sure that everybody inside the game behaves in a certain way. I think that will provide a lead for the spectators.

"At the end of the day it's a game, not life and death. Yes, we all want to win, but the game of golf needs to be the winner."

What previous experience do you have of captaincy? >
"I think the last time I was a Captain of anything was in the Four Tours event in Japan some years ago, but before that it might have been of the soccer club I played for as a junior!"

>Note: > In May, Bernhard Langer said that a possible hurdle in the way of him becoming Captain was that his daughter, Jackie, will be starting college in America around the time of the Matches and he wanted to be there for her. He still does not know how that will fit in, but he decided not to wait for the 2006 Matches in Ireland.

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