Bernhard Langer Just Keeps Playing


Bernhard Langer, in all likelihood, will not win the Masters on Sunday. He is 63 and hasn’t finished in the top 10 since 2014.

Yet it wouldn’t be a shock if Langer, who won in 1985 and 1993, were to make a strong showing. He’s still playing at a high level on the PGA Tour Champions, and he knows the course, Augusta National Golf Club, as well as anyone.

Since he became eligible in 2007, Langer has 41 victories on the senior circuit, trailing the leader, Hale Irwin, by four.

Langer, the former No. 1 player in the world, recently reflected on his long career, including the 6-foot putt he missed on the final hole that allowed the United States to capture the 1991 Ryder Cup.

The following conversation has been edited and condensed.

Will Augusta National play different in November than in April?

I have a feeling it’s going to be colder and probably very wet, which will make it play much longer and softer. It will play into the long hitters’ hands.

What will you consider a good showing?

Considering how long it’s going to play, making the cut would be a good showing because I’m becoming one of the shorter hitters, even on the Champions tour.

Of your two Masters wins, is there one you favor over the other?

The first one was very special because it was the first one, and I beat some very good players. I beat, down the stretch, Seve Ballesteros, Raymond Floyd and Curtis Strange, all established competitors. The second one, I played some of my best golf ever that week.

Any disappointment that you didn’t win any other majors?

Yes, specifically the British Open. I had numerous chances at winning the Open, and I felt I should have. I just didn’t putt very well or screwed up somehow or maybe somebody else played better. I thought I had the game to win on a links course.

Was putting your Achilles’?

There were times my putting was good, but there were many years when my putting held me back. In 1984, when Seve won [the British Open] at St. Andrews, I felt I outplayed him from tee to green by several shots, but he ended up winning by two. Seve putted so much better than I did. [The putter], in the end, is the most important club in the bag.

Do you at this point of your life feel you can still improve?

Absolutely. I can improve in just about every area except getting longer. That’s probably not going to happen. I can be more accurate. I can think better. I can prepare better. My short game can certainly become better.

How do you keep motivated?

That’s something I never struggled with. Maybe it’s my upbringing. Whatever I do, I give it my best. If I can’t get motivated, I better stay at home and do something else.

Is surpassing Hale Irwin a big deal for you?

I don’t think about it that much. It’s not necessarily a goal of mine. My goal is to be the best I can be, and if I can do that, I think I will win tournaments, even though it’s going to get harder and harder as these young guys come out.

Why did you handle the missed putt in the 1991 Ryder Cup so well?

First of all, my faith in God put it all in perspective, that it’s just a game, and it’s not life and death. Second, I knew in my heart that I actually hit a good putt, and I made some very good putts to just put myself in that position.

You’ve lived in the United States for about 35 years. Are you more American than German?

I married an American. I’ve raised four kids here. This is where we spend all our time. This is where we pay our taxes. This has become home, no doubt about it. On the other hand, there’s still something in me that is German and always will be. I would have never thought, coming from an 800-people village in Bavaria to end up in Boca Raton, Fla.



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