Langer hopes for late end to emotional Masters farewell

February 1, 2024 6:17 am

[Source: Reuters]

Bernhard Langer has missed the Masters cut for the last three years but the two-times champion will be doing all he can to snap that streak this year and make the most of his final start at Augusta National.

The 66-year-old German, speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of his title defense at the PGA Tour Champions’ Feb. 16-18 Chubb Classic, admits it will be a tough farewell.

“I’ll be very emotional. Hopefully, I won’t be crying playing these last few holes, but there’s no guarantee because I have friends from Germany flying in,” said Langer.

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“My brother will fly over. I have lots of American friends that will try and come up and support me and be there for me when I play my last round which is hopefully Sunday, not Friday, but we’ll see.”

Langer has made 40 Masters appearances and his two triumphs at Augusta National Golf Club highlight a World Golf Hall of Fame career that also includes 10 European Ryder Cup teams and over 60 worldwide wins.

Langer won his first Green Jacket in 1985 when he rallied from a four-stroke deficit in the final round and birdied four of the last seven holes to beat Curtis Strange, Seve Ballesteros and Raymond Floyd by two shots.

He triumphed at Augusta National eight years later when he made a decisive eagle on the 13th and cruised to a four-stroke victory over Chip Beck.

At the 2020 Masters, played in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Langer opened with an impressive 68 en route to finishing in a share of 29th place.

Langer, who has only twice failed to break 80 at the Masters, still looks fitter than many competitors but knows the sobering reality that while the pristine course rewards those with experience, all Augusta National runs must come to an end.

“Playing the course in the ’80s was totally different than now. There was no rough. There were wide fairways. The edges were pine needles. So it was all about the second shot,” said Langer.

“Now they’ve planted 5,000 trees or more. The fairways are quite a bit tighter. You have rough on both sides. It’s still a second-shot golf course, but it’s a much harder driving golf course now than it ever has been before.”

This year’s Masters runs from April 11-14.