Bernhard Langer Press Conference Transcript
Q. You seem to be putting really well.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I like fast greens; never been a friend of slow greens. So those are my kind of greens.
Q. Is there a key out there, something that kept your round going?
BERNHARD LANGER: No. I just kept the ball in play. I drove it quite well, hit the fairway, hit the greens, and set myself up with chances. That's what you have to do. You've got to stay out of the long stuff, hit as many fairways and greens, and hopefully, roll a few in.
Q. When you went to the first tee today, did you say: Okay, the winds are right; okay, the conditions are right, the day that you are going to have to shoot 66, 67 in order to move yourself into contention?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I knew I needed a very good one to get into contention, because I was six behind starting the day. But at the same time, I knew it was very, very difficult. It's going to be tough out there. You have to be patient. You can't go out there and say, 'Oh, I've got to birdie the first three out of six,' and then you don't and you're totally depressed. So you just have to try to shoot the lowest score you can over 18 holes.
Q. You're the only European on the leaderboard right now. Is there any consolation? What did you attribute that to?
BERNHARD LANGER: That's not necessarily my goal to be low European. Right, I don't know what I contribute that to. Like I say, I've been playing fairly well, hitting a lot of solid golf shots in the last couple of days. And the short game has been fairly good, too. That just sums it up. That brings in low scores, usually.
Q. You've been in contention here over the year. Does something appeal about the golf course?
BERNHARD LANGER: What appeals to me is you have to think your way around a little bit. It's not what I call a bomber's golf course where you have tons of room and you just hit your driver 300 or whatever. I can't. I don't like those courses, you know, where the long hitters can just hit it way out there, and even if they hit it a little crooked, they can find it and hit it again. There's so much trouble around here that if you go a little off line with, whether it is with your driver or your irons, you know, you've got to be happy to make bogeys at some times. It's easy to rack up a double or triple really quick on any of the holes.
Q. Do you think the greens can get any faster tomorrow?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't think so. I think they are about as fast as they can be without losing them. Some of them are changing color out there. I think as soon as that last group has gone through, they are going to just water the high spots a little bit so they don't lose them.
Q. Three guys on the top of the leaderboard using the long putter, and you were the first of the three. Is that something you feel good about now?
BERNHARD LANGER: I just have no option at this stage. I've tried the short putter, and I'm just so terrible with it that I had to go to the long one. I wish I could go back to the short one, but right now I can't. So I might try again in the future.
Q. Is that something that you've talked to the other players about? Have you ever suggested to anybody?
BERNHARD LANGER: Not to too many. I always say it's easier with the shorter putter -- unless you have the yips or you have problems with the shorter one, then it is a help to go to the longer one. I think it's easier to putt with the shorter one.
Q. Can you give an example of just be willing to make bogey and forget about it?
BERNHARD LANGER: 18, such a bad lie. I misjudged the wind on the second shot and came up short, and I caught such a terrible lie in the rough down there. It actually rolled into an old divot, and I just could not get under the ball. It just came out low and hot. And then I faced a 60-foot putt for par, and I was more or less happy to 2-putt. So, it's a good 5 in the end, after a perfect tee shot.
Q. Some people have compared today's conditions to a U.S. Open. How would they compare in your mind?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, you can compare in that the rough is very high. If you hit it in there, you are going to lose a shot most of the time or lose a lot of distance. And the greens are very firm and very fast, and those are generally U.S. Open conditions.
Q. At this point, a good score today, on what we call moving day, what do you think you need to do tomorrow to have a chance?
BERNHARD LANGER: I have no clue right now. I have to play as good as I can, I suppose. I don't know where the leaders are going to finish, how far I'm going to be behind, but I have to go very, very low to win the golf tournament.
Q. When you think about tomorrow, do you think about how many players are in front of you or what your score needs to be or what the conditions are? What is on your mind in terms of your goal once you get into the final round?
BERNHARD LANGER: First of all, I'm going to think about how I can shoot the lowest score I can shoot and whatever that might be. Then, obviously, it's more important how many guys are ahead of me, because if there's only two guys ahead, it's maybe easier to catch them, than if I had 20 guys ahead of me being five shots behind. Because three or four or five out of the 20 will play well, but if there's only two, you never know what might happen to the two. But I'm not worrying about the other guys. I've got to play my own game and add it up on the 72nd hole and see what happens.
Q. Over your career, your scoring average here is still under par, which is impressive on this golf course. What do you attribute that to?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don't know what I contribute that to. I try to play smart golf. I have a good game plan. I play, at times, percentage golf, and usually my short game is pretty good, which is what you need on this golf course.
Full Coverage of the Players Championship
Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.
Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''
Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.
Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.
Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.
''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.
Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.
''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''
Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.
''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''
Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.
Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.
Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.
''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''
In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.
Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.
''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.
McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.
Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.
''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''
Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.
''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''
Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.
McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.
''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''
McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.
''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''
McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.
McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.
Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.
''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.
Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.
''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''
Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial
The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.
Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.
Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.
Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.
Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).
This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.
Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting
Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.
Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.
“You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."
It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC.
Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.
“I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”