He is the first German who became internationally known through his golf game, and whose name is still in the list of those who belong to the greats of this sport: Bernhard Langer.
Born in 1957 in Anhausen, in the district of Augsburg, he won his first professional tournament at the age of 17 in Refrath near Cologne. But his first taste of golf came much earlier, of course. He came from a humble background and earned some pocket money as a caddie on his home golf course at the age of eight.
It was there that he was given his first used clubs and soon began to enjoy the game himself, which was still rare in Germany at the time. So, against the advice of his parents, he started an apprenticeship in 1972, which was to make him a golf instructor. He then took over this post in 1976 at the Augsburg-Bobingen Golf Club.
From 1980 onwards he was one of the top golfers in the European rankings. In a total of 390 tournaments he was able to record 39 victories for himself.
Many golf enthusiasts remember a very special situation from 1981: at the golf tournament in Fulford, Langer's ball came to rest high up in the fork of an ash tree on hole 17. Langer waived the penalty stroke, climbed the tree to the laughter of the spectators and chipped the ball onto the green (see video below).
His big breakthrough came with his first major title, winning the famous Masters on April 14, 1985 in Augusta (Georgia, USA). He was the first German to receive the green jacket that distinguishes the squad of winners and put him in a row with golfing greats such as Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, as well as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer.
In the same year, Langer then set up a tournament that has since become one of the most successful competitions in Europe with the third-highest prize money, the "Linde German Masters". The prize money totals 2.7 million euros. Langer has already won this Masters four times. His last victory came in Cologne in 2001.
Also in 2001, he finished sixth in his 19th appearance at the US Masters in Augusta. He finished the prestigious British Open in third place and even won the TNT Dutch Open, taking home the winner's trophy.
In 2014, at the age of 56, Langer surprised everyone at the Masters in Augusta with a shared 8th place. With lifetime eligibility, he also competed at the US Masters in 2015, but failed to make the cut.
In the course of his career, he has won a total of twelve German championship titles, two majors and a World Cup victory in the individual rankings. Worldwide, he has won 65 tournaments on all continents.
To this day - now a senior player - he continues to travel the world as a golfer and is still successful. For example, he is the first player to win the Senior Players Championship, one of the major tournaments on the Champions Tour, three times in a row (from 2014 to 2016).
In addition to his sporting successes, the father of four, who lives as a professing Christian, can also look back on a large number of honorary prizes and awards. One of his highlights was being named an honorary officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the British Queen, Queen Elizabeth II. In addition, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001 and is also a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
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