Bernhard Langer has discovered a solution to stall Father Time on the Masters


Bernhard Langer stood towards the again of the tee field on the primary gap of the Masters in November and watched Rory McIlroy launch his opening tee shot of the third spherical 322 yards. Moments later, the 63-year-old Langer hit his — 251 yards.

The variations between the 2 have been better than simply the 71 yards marked off between them.

“They simply play a special sport,” Langer, a two-time Masters champion, remembered saying to himself. I am not acquainted with this.”

Langer each understands and embraces his limits as a golfer. Perhaps it is due to his age. Perhaps it is as a result of he has been knowledgeable golfer for the previous 45 years. Perhaps it is as a result of he has gained 83 occasions mixed on the European and Champions excursions.

And, yearly, Langer, who has gained 83 occasions world wide, will get reminded of it as quickly as he drives down Magnolia Lane. But, the distinction in age and size — he was 42 yards shorter than enjoying accomplice J.T. Poston over the primary two rounds, 55 behind McIlroy within the third and 64 in again of Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Langer turned the oldest participant ever to make the reduce, beat DeChambeau by two strokes on Sunday and completed tied for twenty ninth in his thirty seventh Masters look.

“It is enjoyable to compete with these younger guys each from time to time,” Langer stated. “I would not wish to do it each week as a result of it will get a bit irritating on a few of these programs. However, I really feel I can nonetheless compete with them.

“I simply haven’t got the lengthy tee ball they’ve.”

Subsequent week, even because the age and distance gaps proceed to widen, he’ll attempt to break his personal file and make the weekend as soon as extra. As soon as within the fairway, he’ll hit first after watching tee photographs from DeChambeau and McIlory and each different participant within the area sail previous his tee ball.

“In the event you had given me the gear they’ve now in my 20s, I might have hit it fairly a methods, too,” he stated.

Finally 12 months’s Masters, Langer typically discovered himself enjoying three golf equipment shorter than his enjoying companions. Once they have been hitting irons, he had a hybrid in his fingers. Once they have been attacking Augusta Nationwide’s par 5s, he was laying up.

“I’ve to play extraordinarily sensible and very properly,” Langer stated. “I’ve to make up for it in different methods. And, nearly, it is like enjoying chess. There’s just a few holes the place I’ve to nearly go backwards. Like, ‘Oh, the pin is right here, so I am unable to go for that pin with a 2-hybrid or 3-wood.’

“So, if I am going for it, I’ve to overlook it right here or there to get it up and down. So, it is tough and it is, in a way, irritating if you see they’re coming in with a 9-iron and so they slide it proper there and cease it. I am coming in with a 2-hybrid and I’ve no likelihood. However it’s additionally a problem.”

What Langer lacks in distance, although, he makes up along with his expertise, acumen and “native information,” having performed Augusta Nationwide for nearly 4 many years. He is aware of the contours of the greens, the locations he can hit and the areas each participant has to keep away from.

“There are particular errors that you may’t make, proper?” Poston stated. “And he was so good about realizing precisely the place to hit it and realizing that you simply’re higher off lacking the inexperienced on this place than perhaps hitting the inexperienced and having a tough two-putt.”

Langer led the match in driving accuracy, hitting 87.5% (49 of 56) of the fairways. He was tied for fourth in placing.

“He simply manages his sport so properly round there,” McIlroy stated.

Whereas so many on the tour are chasing extra distance — and making an attempt to maintain up with DeChambeau — Langer is enjoying his sport, his manner.

“There’s typically a hazard you play with someone that hits it rather a lot additional,” he stated. “You’d both get annoyed or wish to change into like them. And that is at all times a hazard. I feel you must be trustworthy to what you may have and you then bought to be brutally trustworthy with your self and say, ‘OK, to illustrate I am a good ball striker however my placing stinks, or my chipping is terrible, or no matter it could be.'”

Langer’s coach, Willy Hoffman, with whom Langer began working at 18 years outdated, tweaked Langer’s swing in his 20s and 30s. The thought was to take strain off Langer’s again, which he injured when he was 19 whereas coaching for the German Air Power, in order that Langer might be capable to maintain enjoying into his 40s, 50s, 60s and, at this price, perhaps even his 70s.

“You have a look at a number of the younger guys now and also you surprise in the event that they maintain doing this, can they maintain what they’re doing or have they got to make changes to be enjoying of their 50s and 60s?” Langer stated.

Whereas DeChambeau has gone heavy on protein shakes and steak, Langer has maintained the identical strategy he has for many years.

“I at all times say I am on the ‘see meals’ eating regimen, which suggests no matter meals I see, I am going to eat,” he joked.

Langer started paying shut consideration to his health at 19, when he suffered a again harm, which induced a stress fracture and bulging disk. He was within the hospital for 5 weeks. He centered on stretching and a managed cardio program. Greater than 40 years later, Langer nonetheless has the identical strategy to his exercises. When he is on the highway for tournaments, Langer will get to the course about three hours earlier than his tee time and spend an hour within the health heart. He’ll trip a stationary bike for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen up, then get stretched by a bodily therapist on-site for 15 to twenty minutes, then spend one other 20 minutes going via workouts for his abs, shoulders or legs.

“He is wonderful,” stated Jim Furyk, who at 50 has remained aggressive with the youthful crowd regardless of now being sufficiently old for the PGA Tour Champions. “We prefer to say he is a machine. I suppose he is a German machine, which is a finely tuned machine.”

All these years later, Langer believes he is experiencing the good thing about taking his well being critically all through his profession.

“It actually pays off later in your life,” he stated.

Langer first arrived at Augusta Nationwide in 1982. Since that first journey, he has gained twice — in 1985 and 1993 — posted under-par scores in additional than half of the match rounds he has performed and made the reduce 26 occasions, together with six occasions since turning 50. So it is sensible that these looking for that first inexperienced jacket — and even previous champions searching for one other one — decide his mind.

“They ask questions nonstop: ‘Why this?’ or ‘Why that? How would you do that and that?'” Langer stated. “And so I am at all times completely satisfied to share what I’ve realized via the errors I’ve made.”

He is had a profitable trip, and never simply at Augusta Nationwide. His profession in golf started at age 9, when he caddied at Augsburg Golf Membership. He made 2.50 deutsche marks (or about $1.50) for 9 holes, 5 for 18. From what he known as a “very poor” household, each little bit helped. Finally, he began caddying for the membership champion, who took a liking to the younger man carrying his golf equipment. Langer, who likes to joke he fell in love with cash first and golf second, started to concentrate to his personal sport. By 15, he was the assistant skilled at Munch Golf Membership. At 17, he gained a nationwide match. When he was 18, he joined the European Tour.

“I nonetheless must pinch myself,” Langer stated. “The factor is, the place I come from, a bit village in Bavaria in Germany, the place golf was nothing, individuals did not even find out about golf. They thought it was miniature golf, putt-putt. To have the profession that I’ve had and nonetheless play at aggressive degree at age 63 — 45 years later — it is just about unbelievable.”

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