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Bernhard Langer - October 9, 2012

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On Sunday, Bernhard Langer earned his 16th career victory on the Champions Tour when he won the SAS Championship. His son, who is in graduate school at the University of North Carolina, reminded him on Saturday night that when he won in Minnesota in August he began the round 6 shots back so a comeback on Sunday was possible. He was four shots back in Cary entering the final round and he was able to go out and win with a final round 63.

During the Ryder Cup at Medinah, Martin Kaymer called him to see if he could talk on Saturday morning because he knew that he would not be playing. Kaymer told him that he had made some swing changes in an effort to get better and the opposite thing happened. Langer said that he should stick to what made him successful in the first place and be the best Martin Kaymer that he could be. Kaymer also said that he felt like an extra wheel on the Ryder Cup team because of his struggles in 2012 and because he was the only German on the team. Langer told him that he knew how that felt because he was the only German on the team for many years but the Ryder Cup is truly a great opportunity to connect with other people in a team atmosphere. He encouraged Kaymer to embrace the opportunities that the Ryder Cup can provide and Kaymer seemed to do that.

The long putter has been in use in the golf world for decades and he wonders why only a minority of players use the long putter if it is indeed such an advantage. Langer feels that the long putter is an issue now only because we have had three recent Major Champions win while using the long putter. If the long putter is indeed banned, Langer feels that a number of golfers will leave the game because they will no longer be able to compete and that is very unfortunate for those players and for the game as a whole. If the long putter were truly the answer to putting problems, Langer said that everyone would be using one but that is far from the case.

Since Continental Europe was added to the Ryder Cup in 1979, an interesting dynamic to the European team involves language. For instance, the Spanish players stick together just as the English players stick together in part because they are good friends and in part because they share in a common language. As good as the European team dynamic is, it can be better if players with different languages and cultures can reach out to their teammates and try  to get to know them and respect them as people and not just as competitors.

In 1991, after he missed the putt to retain the Ryder Cup for Europe, he went to Germany and won the very next week on the European Tour. Langer said that the Ryder Cup aftermath was difficult to deal with at first because he felt that he let his teammates down but he later realized that he made a number of great putts just to get into the position to retain the Ryder Cup at 18. He also realized that he made a great stroke at 18 but a couple of spike marks knocked the ball off the line to the hole. His friends, family, and Christian faith also played a big part in helping him move on from the 1991 Ryder Cup. In fact, he won the next week by making key putts when he had to make them.