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Langer Has Season for the Ages


Bernhard Langer has completed one of the best years ever on the Champions Tour. The 53-year-old German, already in golf's Hall of Fame, compiled five victories in 2010, including wins in two majors, the Senior British Open at Carnoustie and the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee.

On Sunday, he finished in a tie for third with David Frost behind winner John Cook and runner-up Michael Allen in the season-ending Schwab Cup Championship. The high finish led Langer to take home his first-ever Charles Schwab Cup and its $1 million bonus.

Langer also led the money list on the over-50 circuit, virtually assuring him a third straight Player of the Year honor.

In 2010, he repelled challenges from several new Champions Tour players, notably the long-hitting Fred Couples, who won four times this year. But when it came to head-to-head between the top-two players, Langer came out on top, including twice in Couples' hometown of Seattle: at the U.S. Senior Open and the Boeing Classic.

After accepting the Charles Schwab Cup Sunday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Langer sat down with reporters and discussed his sparkling season.

MODERATOR: Bernhard, congratulations on winning your first Charles Schwab Cup title, and I know you -- that was one of your goals this year, as you stated early on. Maybe just talk about coming to fruition today.

BERNHARD LANGER: You know, looking back, it's been an unbelievable year. It really has. It's just sinking in because I've achieved a lot of my goals. I've won two majors. I've won the Charles Schwab Cup, won the money list again, might end up Player of the Year again. It's hard to do that year after year. And obviously the thing I haven't done so far is winning the Schwab Cup, so this was a big deal for me. I came into this week knowing I had to finish fourth or better if Fred Couples wins the tournament, and that was my goal. I finished third. And that was a good win for me. And congratulations to obviously John Cook for his outstanding play. But as I said, for the 10 months long or 10 and a half months that we play for this trophy, you had to play very solid throughout the whole year. You gotta have lots of Top 10s, lots of wins. And again, the competition that I was facing this year with Fred Couples and many, many other great champions and Hall-of-Famers, you go down the list, whether it's Nick Price or John Cook or Mark O'Meara, it goes on and on and on. There's so many great players out there. To come out on top is a great feeling and it's worth all the hard work over the years.

MODERATOR: Is this your most satisfying year on the Champions Tour?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, you know, I thought it was pretty special the first two years. I really did. But this year obviously tops it off with having won the two majors back to back and then ending up with this trophy, it doesn't get any better than that.

MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. How difficult were the conditions today and how different was it today than in the previous three days? Obviously with the rain, how much more challenging was it given the rain?

BERNHARD LANGER: It was on-and-off rain for many hours. You put the umbrella away and you took the jacket off and two minutes later you had to grab it again and put it back on. Otherwise it was just colder. The ball didn't go as far. When it's warm, the ball travels a little further, so it played a little longer, and there was even more of a premium to hit the fairway today, I think, because when the rough gets wet, it's that much thicker and you pick up more mud, and you have mud even in the rough, which makes it difficult to control the ball. So it was a little tougher, a little harder, but it helped to place the ball on the fairway at least, so a premium in the fairway.

Q. Can you give an example of a hole yesterday where you had a certain club yesterday and had to hit more club today?

BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah. There was one hole especially like the tee was, what was, 12, I guess, the long par-4. They moved the tee up like 20 yards further, and I still had 3-iron. Hit driver, 3-iron, you know, and it played really long into the wind and just kind of cold and wet, and as I said, the ball not traveling very far and the pin being back left. Yesterday was a driver 4-iron, but the tee was, you know, 20 yards further back or even 25 yards further back.

Q. Bernhard, there are a number of players that have won this award and the million dollars and have donated some of it to charity. Do you have any idea if you'll do that, and if so, what type of charities?

BERNHARD LANGER: I definitely pray about it and I support a lot of charities already. I'm involved heavily with four or five charities, one is Youths for Christ in West Palm Beach. Other one is Sheraton House Search Ministries. We have a number of orphanages that we support kids, underprivileged kid. I have my own foundation in Germany that helps the families who are not so well off, and also spread the gospel. So for those kinds of things we're going to send a lot of money, and we've been doing that before I won this and we're going to be able to do more now. But I don't want to give out any specifics. The Bible says you shouldn't let your left hand know what your right hand does. And I don't want the praise of the people here because that would be all my benefit, I guess. I'd rather get the praise in Heaven. I'm not doing it to get the praise of the people. That's what I'm trying to say.

Q. This is your third straight Jack Nicklaus trophy; correct? Third straight year as Player of the Year?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, we don't know that yet, but it's most likely going to happen.

Q. Some people who do two or three championships in a row earn the title dynasty. In this very competitive tight tour, you've sort of been A list the past three years. Your thoughts on that kind of dominance? And you know, when you see, for instance, Jimmy Johnson with four straight, do you think, well, I won three straight Nicklaus trophies? Your thoughts on your consistencies of being at the top of your game?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, as I said earlier, it's been a phenomenal time out here. I really enjoy playing on this tour. I came out here just over three years ago trying to be one of the three dominant players. I had no clue that this was going to happen. I was just trying to be one of the better players out here trying to compete for titles and championships and hopefully win a few. But it's been a great blessing, and I just have to reestablish new golf for the next year and see where it will take me.

Q. You won a couple of Masters, and now you would do this. Is there any comparison in doing that and then coming, you know, 20 years later or so and still being able to play top-flight golf?

BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I think there's a certain comparison, a certain -- you know, you always want to -- you strive to be one of the best in whatever you do. And when I was on the European Tour, I wanted to be one of the best European players. When I joined the PGA Tour, I wanted to be one of the best players there. And when the world ranking came out, I wanted to be one of the best in the world rankings; and I achieved that. So as I said, when I joined this tour, I wanted to be one of the better players out here, and so far I've proven that. So whatever you do, I think you want to be the best. You guys want to be the best writer or the best in whatever you're doing, best reporter, whatever the job is, and it's the same with us. And it's just -- it's great when it comes to fruition. There's no guarantees, you know. I mean Gary Player says the harder -- the more practice, the luckier I get, and there's some truth to that, but not always. I've had months when I worked very hard and I felt like I was getting worse, but in the long run it probably does pay off.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.