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Bernhard Langer Press Conference


August 19, 2004

August 29, 2003
Interview with Langer

Bernhard Langer, Europe's Captain for The 35th Ryder Cup Matches at Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Township, Michigan, next September, gave his first official press conference in Germany since his appointment last month when he spoke to the media during the BMW International Open at Golfclub M?nchen Nord-Eichenried, Munich.

I look forward to being the Captain in Oakland Hills very much. I am very excited and proud to be the Captain. I look forward to the qualifying process which starts next week as you know. The qualifying process has changed and we have five people from a new world ranking which starts next week and it is cumulative points earned over the next 12 months and we also take five people from the official money list and two Ryder Cup picks. Also I am going to be in Oakland Hills on September 29 to do a press conference with Hal Sutton and I have a chance to look at the golf course and the accommodation and other things I need to see to get a picture of everything. As you are aware I will have no say so in how the course will be set up. That is Hal Sutton's choice and therefore I have to accept what I find but I am sure it will be playable and in very good shape.

Do you think the new World Rankings list will make your job easier?
I believe so. I believe the best players will be in the team and I will not have to waste my Captain's picks to pick one or two guys who should already be in the team. That is the idea - that the strongest 12 man team will be playing and that is what we need to beat the Americans or have a chance to beat them.

Can I just clarify it is a completely new world rankings list and previously earned points will not count?
That's correct. It starts from zero and it is cumulative. It is not like the World Rankings now which is based on average per tournament. It is a cumulative so any points you earn will be added on. It is different as the World Ranking at the moment reflects how you played per tournament, how well you have done in a tournament. The one we have adopted gives you a bonus if you play more tournaments. If you play more you have more chance to earn more points.

Will you only have one vice captain and when will you announce who it is?
I might have two but there will be no announcements made until May, June, July next year because the vice captain has absolutely nothing to do at this stage. I think I only need him the last few weeks, if at all, prior to the tournament and therefore there is no need to make an announcement now especially as I might think about picking someone who might have a chance of making the team.

Will you be asking Hal Sutton to keep the format of the first day the same, with fourballs first?
I really don't know if it makes much of a difference to tell you the truth. In the end you have to play the match whether it is fourball or foursomes. We will discuss that when the time is right.

You don't favour, like the other European Captains, starting with fourballs?
I'm not sure it makes a big difference.

Your plan is to play everyone before the singles?
I think that is something I will definitely do. I don't think it is fair to anybody who made the team, especially rookies, to throw them into cold water on Sunday when they haven't experienced the atmosphere and got rid of the first tee jitters or whatever you want to call it. I would want to play everybody the first two days unless there is a very good reason not to do so.

Can you go through whether you will possibly play or not?
First of all, I don't think you can do both. You cannot be Captain and play at the same time. It is too much of a job either way. The players need to focus on playing and the Captain needs to do all the other stuff and there are too many things to do. I understand I do have a choice if I do qualify to play but we will take that as the time comes. Another part of the question was what if I was one of the top five in the rankings or money list yet choose not the play, what happens. Does the next guy down move in there? That is exactly what happens. If somebody is sick or I should be in there and decide not to play the next person in line will be making the team.

So you haven't ruled out playing at this stage?
No, I have nothing ruled out at this stage. It is too far away at this stage.

How much are you going to change your schedule between Europe and the US to see players in action?
I think I am going to have a similar schedule for the past two or three years. I am still playing a number of tournaments on The European Tour and I will see these guys in the Majors, in the World Golf Championships and see them on The Golf Channel every week. It is very easy to keep up with the guys and on top of that I can have all the stats sent to me from every tournament around the world. We are really only talking in the end about four to six people who I have to pick the two from.

Do you see a new generation of golfers making the team next year and some players you played with not playing another Ryder Cup?
May well be. Nobody knows what will happen in the future but I do hope that our youngsters get better and stronger and come through and not only qualify for The Ryder Cup but also win some Majors and big tournaments around the world. I do think we have at least a handful of very exciting young players and if they mature a little bit I can see all of them being in the team.

To say you have not ruled out playing should you be playing very well surely puts a great deal of uncertainty into the whole affair. Do you expect a Captain could be put in place at the last minute?
Probably not the last minute. If I should be playing that well, I always said we need to top 12 players in the team to beat the Americans and that is the priority I believe. If I should be having one of the best years ever and be in at number four or five I might consider it. Obviously at this stage I am totally focused on the captaincy but if I should have a brilliant year then maybe I should consider playing and have someone else take over the job. But it wouldn't be last minute, it would be several months in advance I should think.

How do you see you style of leadership? Will you be a Seve tearing around?
I don't think I am a Seve, we all know that. Everybody is different. I have to be Bernhard Langer as that is when I do my best. I am not good when I am trying to be Seve or when I am trying to be whoever. I need to be myself. I need to use my strengths and not my weaknesses.

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