When it comes to German golfers. None are as impressive as Bernhard Langer, and he’s managed to hold onto the number one spot for decades. Emerging onto the professional circuit in 1972 he still continues to play and win today. And he has a wonderful story of rising to the top.
Having such a long career in golf can be hard to do. None have managed it more eloquently than German golfer Bernhard Langer. Nearly half a decade of golf under his belt not surprising he has plenty of victories to boast about.
What makes Bernhard so special is that he’s managed to hold onto the title of German’s best golfer. Even though there have been many after him. Known for his thoughtful playing style and intense dedication to the game of golf. It’s his mixture of both skill and commitment that has managed to keep him on top for so long.
Langer shows no signs of slowing down either, and he’s still competing and winning in many championships around the world. Now at 60 years of age he’s quite young for a golfer still but has a decorated career behind him. No telling when he finally hang up the golf shoes and retire certainly enjoying watching him play for now.
Early Years and Family Life
Bernhard Langer was born in Anhausen, Germany in 1957 into family that wasn’t well of financially but still happy. His mother was a housewife and his father a mason, and he had two older siblings within his family.
Just like all professional golfers, Langer has a history of starting young in his passion. When he was just eight years old, he took a job at the local golf course. As a caddy in order to earn some pocket money to help the family. Thanks to his brother who also worked there as a caddy. It was here that he developed a love for golf and was able to practice for hours each week honing his skills.
Beginnings of His Career
Although the love for golf was there from an early age. Langer was also plagued with many different illnesses while he was young. By the time he turned five years old. He had already suffered through two life-threatening conditions that made it a miracle he had survived.
He continued working as a caddy and developing his golfing skills. Until he was finally ready to turn professional at the age of 15. With such a young start in the game of golf. No wonder Langer was able to achieve as much as he has by the age 60.
When Langer turned pro at the age of 15. He probably had no idea that it would only take him two years to win his first tournament. In 1974, Langer won the German National Open Championship when he was just 17 years old.
During Europe Tour
In 1976, he joined the Europe tour but his passion for golf was briefly interrupted. As he went on to spend 18 months in the German Air Force. When he returned after a year and a half. We went on to win the German National Open Championship again in 1977 and 1979.
Langer’s first tour win was during the 1980 Dunlop Masters. Which marked the start of his major tour victories in Europe and the rest of the world. By this stage, he was already considered one of the best European players. Golf had ever seen and was also making a name and reputation for himself globally.
Professional Career Highlights
By the 1980s, Bernhard’s career had well and truly taken off. He was on top of the European Tour money list. Won 42 European Tour tournaments and two Green Jackets as a Master’s champion. This wins placed him second only to Seve Ballesteros, another famed international golfer.
Langer was a popular addition to the Ryder Cup series and this is where he did his most memorable work. Working alongside Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. He brought the focus back to Europe as a golf hub and home to many iconic greats in the sport. During this time. He played for the European side 10 times and scored a massive 24 points.
In 2004, he served as the captain to the European team and was extremely successful during this time. The team was able to have their biggest win over the US solidified Bernhard’s status as a golfing legend.
Later Career and Senior Wins
In 2002, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame but showed no signs of slowing down. When Bernhard turned 50 in 2007, he joined the Champions Tour and had many successful wins throughout. His constant victories earned him the Player of Year title for 2008, 2009, and 2010. Again winning 2014 after some time out of the top spot.
Other notable wins include during the British and US senior opens where he won five times. Then another third senior major in 2014 when he played and won the Senior British Opens. During the 2017 Regions Tradition. Langer tied with golf legend Jack Nicklaus as the player with the most senior major wins ever.
During Senior PGA Championship
Langer won which then pushed him to the lead over Nicklaus and he won again during the 2017 British Open. Further securing his title as the golfer with the most senior major wins. Understandably, he continues to top the lists for the most impressive golfer of all time and manages. Take home many more honors even in his senior playing years.
Personal Battle With the Yips
Although Langer has had a highly decorated career and continues to win, he has managed to do so in the face of adversity. Bernhard began suffering symptoms of the yips in 1976 at the very start of his professional career and was diagnosed with it not long after.
The yips is a somewhat common occurrence for golfers and one that can spell the end of their game. However, Langer never let it get to him. During this time suffering from the condition, he has made various changes to his grip and playing style in an effort to beat them, but sadly none have been as successful as he hoped.
Fun Facts About Bernhard Langer
Golfers tend to lead a pretty public life, as do many sports stars. However, there are some fascinating facts about Bernhard Langer that you might not know. Here’s some trivia you can share with others when discussing one of the golf’s greatest legends.
- Langer finished school at the age of 15 in order to pursue a career as a professional golfer but was told by the authority figures in his life that such a job didn’t exist. He began working as a golf assistant in Munich which led to him turning professional just two short years later.
- When Langer was just 18 years old he took part in the European Tour and drove himself around to each course with his old Ford.
- In 1982, the golfer experienced one of his most publicised moments when he played the ball from a tree crown in an English tournament. Everyone was shocked by his skill and the photos were seen around the world.
- In 1984, Bernhard married an American woman Vikki Carol and the pair has four children together. They live between his hometown of Anhausen, Germany, and Florida, USA.
- Langer is a devout Christian and has been quoted as saying his first priority in life is God, then his family, and then golf.
- Bernhard and his brother Ewin were the organizers of the German Masters from 1987 to 2009, and Berhanrd himself was also a major drawcard to the event.
- Langer was the first player to ever win three major tournaments of the Champions tour himself, which he did so during the Seniors Players Championship in 2014 to 2016.
An Exceptional International Golfer
Bernhard Langer’s golfing career was already the stuff of legends by the time he turned 30 years. What makes him even more amazing. He shows no signs of slowing down and continues to break records in the senior golf tours.
Like many other golfers, Bernhard’s love for golf started at an early age and showed a natural passion. Sport that he’s managed to grow with hard work and dedication. He will forever be known as a golfing legend and there’s no telling how many other victories. He can achieve before his retirement one day in the far off future.
Featured Image: CC by SA, Keith Allison, via Flickr.