Bernhard Langer | Player Profile | Nedbank Senior Challengeon October 24, 2011
Bernhard Langer, born in Anhausen, Bavaria in Germany, became the first player to be ranked number one when the Official World Golf Rankings were introduced in 1986. The two-time US Masters champion was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002; a well-deserved honour as since turning professional in 1976, Langer has triumphed regularly and in many parts of the golfing world, and his durability has been remarkable. One of a few players that have collected trophies in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australia, the amiable German has a game ideally suited to the Gary Player Country Club’s layout, something he has proven on more than one occasion.
When Langer was first invited to the Nedbank Golf Challenge for the 1985 event, he led (together with Lee Trevino) after the first round, and remained at the top of the leaderboard for the rest of the tournament, eventually lifting the crystal trophy and pocketing the $300 000 first prize. He played in the next three Nedbank Golf Challenge Tournaments, but during the 1988 tournament he hit an all-time low when the dreaded “yips” plagued his game, and South African spectators looked on in disbelief as he struggled to an 18-over par total and finishing in last place. This was despite producing his characteristically pure ball-striking and his impeccable course management.
Langer has always been know as one of the hardest workers in the game, but rather than being famous for his untiring work ethic, he has found it hard to live down his ‘yips’ and that infamous, critical putt that he missed during the conclusion of the 1991 Ryder Cup. Had Langer holed what was a five-footer, the European team would have tied the event and retained the trophy, and in Ryder Cup history, there were few more pivotal moments.
Now a resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Langer has enjoyed periods on the Champions Tour when he has been unbeatable. Before he joined the over-50 Tour his fellow competitors new that they would have their hands full, and a month prior to his forty-eight birthday he finished fifth in the Open Championship. Only weeks away from joining the senior Tours, he was still ranked in the world’s top 100.
In only his fourth start on the Champions Tour Langer dominated proceedings in the Administaf Classic by shooting a course-record 62 to open and eventually equalled the Champions Tour scoring record with 25-under par for 54 holes. He won by eight strokes from Mark O’Meara. In his first full season on Tour Langer’s earnings surpassed the $2 million mark, and completed three consecutive years on the Champions Tour banking more than that total. In a total of 19 Senior major championships, he has a brace of wins and 13 top-10 finishes. Last season his performance was nothing short of stellar – he won five times equalling Craig Stadler’s record set in 2004.
It was only a biking accident in March of this year that Langer’s dominance was halted, and he underwent surgery for damage to his ulner collateral ligament in his left thumb. Since his three-month layoff he has proved that he has regained full fitness, and besides his 69, 69 weekend in the British Senior Open, he also shot the lowest 36-hole score over the final rounds of the Senior Players Championship.
A committed Christian, Langer also has a love for fast cars and describes himself as a “scratch handicap skier.”