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Bernhard Langer (German pronunciation: [ˈbɛʁnhaʁt ˈlaŋɐ]; born 27 August 1957) is a German professional golfer. He is a two-time Masters champion and was one of the world's leading golfers throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1986, he became the sport's first official number one ranked player following the creation of the OWGR.
Langer is one of five golfers who have won professional golf events on all six continents where golf is played. He has victories on all the premiere tours, with 42 wins on the European Tour (2nd most all-time), three on the PGA Tour, and numerous international victories; including wins on the Japan Golf Tour, Asian Tour, Australasian Tour, and the Tour de las Américas.
The highlights of Langer's career are his two major championships. His first major win came at the 1985 Masters Tournament, where Langer won by two strokes over runners-up Seve Ballesteros, Raymond Floyd and Curtis Strange. His second major came at the 1993 Masters Tournament with a four-shot victory over Chip Beck. Langer has also finished runner-up on two occasions at The Open Championship (1981 and 1984).
After turning 50, Langer has established himself as one of the most successful players on PGA Tour Champions and has won a record 11 senior major championships and achieved the career Senior Grand Slam (winning each of the five major championships at least once during one's career). He has won the 2010, 2014, 2017 and 2019 Senior Open Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2016 and 2017 Regions Tradition, the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Constellation Senior Players Championship, and the 2017 Senior PGA Championship.
Life and work
Langer was born in the village of Anhausen, which today is a part of Diedorf municipality, near Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany. He turned professional in 1972 and has won many events in Europe and the United States, including The Masters in 1985 and 1993. He was the inaugural World Number 1 when the Official World Golf Rankings were introduced in 1986. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001 (but deferred his induction until 2002). He ranks second in career wins on the European Tour (42) and has also played regularly on the U.S.-based PGA Tour, especially in the late 1980s and since 2000. He finished in a tie for fifth at The Open Championship the month before he turned 48, and regained a ranking in the top 100 three months before he turned 50. Along with Gary Player, David Graham, Hale Irwin and Justin Rose, Langer is one of only five players to have won official tournaments on all six continents on which golf is played. He played on 10 Ryder Cup teams (1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2002) and was the non-playing captain of the victorious European team in 2004.
Langer has battled the yips, having a strong tendency to flinch or twitch during putting. He has changed his putter grip numerous times in an attempt to cure the problem. In the 1991 Ryder Cup, Langer missed a five-foot putt that would have tied the Ryder Cup and allowed the European team to retain the trophy.
Langer has been married to his American wife Vikki Carol since 1984. They have four children: Jackie, Stefan, Christina, and Jason. They maintain homes in Langer's birthplace of Anhausen and in Boca Raton, Florida. Langer is known to be a devout Christian.
In 2006, in recognition of his contribution to the sport of golf, Langer was appointed as an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). In his native Germany, Langer has received multiple honors, including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Silver Laurel Leaf (Silbernes Lorbeerblatt), which is the highest German sport award. In July 2016, he was inducted into Germany's Sport Hall of Fame.
In 2015, Langer became the first player since Arnold Palmer (1984–85) to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship in back-to-back years. It was also the last year that Langer was allowed to use the anchor putter, which the USGA banned effective 1 January 2016. At the 2016 Masters, Langer was in the second to last group in the final round only two shots back, but fell to a tie for 24th.
In 2016, Langer claimed the Regions Tradition title for his sixth senior major championship. He won by a six stroke margin over Olin Browne. This was his 100th professional win and the first time Langer had won the title. His capture of the 2017 Senior PGA Championship completed a career Grand Slam. The Regions Tradition title had also made him only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, with wins in four different senior major championships. Later in 2016 he wrote history by becoming the first three-time winner of the Constellation Senior Players Championship and wins it for third straight year. The result also meant that only Nicklaus had won more senior majors than Langer. In November, he won his fourth Charles Schwab Cup and his third in a row.
In January 2017, US president Donald Trump used an incorrect story about Langer's failed attempt at voting in the United States to justify an investigation of voter fraud in the 2016 US presidential election. The story was covered in several media outlets. Since Langer is a citizen only of Germany, he was not eligible to vote.
Langer won three more senior majors in 2017 to become the most decorated player in the senior ranks of all-time. In total, he won seven titles – but he did not win the season-ending Schwab Cup. Instead, Kevin Sutherland, who was fifth in the Order of Merit heading into the final event of the season, won that to lift the trophy in what was his only win of the season. Langer subsequently called the playoff process 'unfair'.
Langer's total career earnings up to 2018 on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions were more than US$36 million.
In September 2018, Langer received the Payne Stewart Award.
In November 2018, Langer won his fifth Charles Schwab Cup. This brought his lifetime earnings in the Charles Schwab Cup to $7,000,000.
In July 2019, Langer won his fourth Senior Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. This marked his eleventh victory in a senior major championship.
In March 2020, Langer won the Cologuard Classic for his 41st victory on the PGA Tour Champions.
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