BMW International Open 2011: “Hopefully I won’t have any pain at the start of the tournament”.

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Interview with Bernhard Langer.

Question: Mr Langer, you’re coming direct from the BMW Pro-Am Cooking with master chef Holger Stromberg. Your mother’s Black Forest Gateau has become famous. However, your recent attempt didn’t quite match this, did it?
Bernhard Langer: No, what we have prepared today doesn’t have very much to do with it. But it still tasted very good.

Question: Thongchai Jaidee was also there and felt quite at home in the kitchen?
Langer: I always had to ask myself: What should I do next? Thongchai just got going, did his stuff. And suddenly a curry was on the table.

Question: Let’s get to the sporty bit. The first question naturally has to be: How are things going with your thumb injury? Until last weekend, you had been out of action for three months.
Langer: Three weeks ago I flew to Iowa to take part in a tournament on the Champions Tour.  I hit 20 balls on the driving range and played nine holes. Then I had to stop and fly back home. That was a five-hour flight. Not exactly like going from here to Augsburg.  I was very disappointed that it was still so painful. I took a quick decision to fly here quickly and visit my doctor who had already helped me with my stiff neck four years ago. At that time, I even came in second.

Question: And what happened then?
Langer: I was treated for ten days and on Whit Sunday, just nine days ago, I no longer had any pain. I was able to hit a golf ball without any pain for the first time in three months. Naturally, that was a fantastic feeling. Then I decided to play at the tournament in Cologne, the Berenberg Bank Masters. It went very well but my thumb gradually got worse at the week-end and on Monday it started to get really painful. In a nutshell, my doctor recommended that I shouldn’t do anything connected with golf today and tomorrow. Tournament Director Marco Kaussler, the European Tour and I agreed that the best solution was not to play in the Pro-Am, so that hopefully I’ll be able to take part in the tournament.

Question: What are your expectations for this BMW International Open?
Langer: Well, I can’t really have any. I have to be honest and say that. In the past I’ve always hoped to be up in front and sometimes I’ve succeeded in achieving that. But as I’ve said, I’ve played very little golf during the past three months and there have only been four tournaments over the past seven months which is not very much. And naturally the preparation now is also not great. But I have to deal with the situation as it is and make the best of it.
Hopefully, I won’t have any pain because then I believe that I will be able to deliver a creditable result.

Question: Is Martin Kaymer your favourite to win the tournament? He’s already said that the tournament is very important for him.
Langer: It’s undoubtedly important. This is the only tournament that we currently have in Germany. At home, you always like to play well, you’re fired up by the home crowd . This always helps and provides a motivating factor. Of course, he’s the favourite on paper but there are certainly 40 or 50 others who could also win.

Question: What’s your assessment of the field of players?
Langer: There are always some good players at the start. The tournament is very popular with the players, they like coming here.

Question: The Europeans are currently dominating world golf. Why is that?
Langer: Like the 1980s, we’re lucky that there’s a group of players who play against each other each week and this means they get better. It’s great fun to look at the young players, particularly since each of them has their own way of doing things and their own style. I like watching that.