Long Live Langer
The legendary golfer is breaking new records...
"no yips this year..."
One of the best golfers of all time, Bernhard Langer has been winning tournaments for decades: recently, however, he’s been shattering records with his success. On Sunday, May 21, Langer pulled far ahead of the competition to win the Regions Tradition Tournament for the second time by no less than five strokes. The victory put Langer even with Jack Nicklaus’ record of eight career PGA Tour Champions major titles.
One week later, the Bogner athlete rose again to victory, this time beating two records in a single day at the KitchenAid PGA Senior Championship. Langer played neck-to-neck against Vijay Singh throughout most of the competition, eventually pulling ahead and finishing the tournament with a one-shot win. With this success, Langer now holds the new record with nine career PGA Tour Champions major title wins, and is the first person to ever win all five senior majors.
Langer secured his historic win primarily with his putter, a club he has frequently had trouble with in the past. What’s more is that recent rule changes have forced Langer to adapt the putting stroke he has used for over a decade. Patience, focus and practice were key to Langer successfully adapting a new technique that works for him and abides by the new rules. Clearly, his efforts paid off.
In a recent interview, we asked Langer about what he does to stay calm and focused on the course. Langer explained that over time, he’s developed a “pre-shot” routine that is planned down to the second (it lasts forty-two seconds, to be exact): this routine is essential in helping him overcome what golfers call “the yips” and making precise shots. “When I take my club out of my bag, I take two test swings,” he explained. “Then I step up to the ball, look for my target, aim with my club, make two or three corrections to my posture, and then swing.”
This routine is what helps Langer time his concentration, which he says can only be maintained at this level for about four or five seconds. In general, concentration and mental strength are essential for elite athletes. When it comes to mental strength, Langer happily explains that his faith is his primary guide.
"He Deserved to Win"
That is not to say, however, that he underestimates the value of experience. “When I was younger, I would be upset about a small mistake for three or four holes after, costing me even more bogeys,” the legendary golfer shared. “Now I think I just know myself better. I’ve been playing golf tournaments for forty years, I know exactly what I can and can’t do. I’m better at staying the moment and not worrying about the past or the future – something that’s not good to do while playing golf.”
Indeed, Langer’s cool-headedness and ability to forgive his own mistakes may have been what put him ahead of his much younger opponent Vijay Singh at the KitchenAid PGA Senior Championship. Singh was visibly frustrated after a missed eagle putt at the ninth hole, and was unable to recover while the ever-imperturbable Langer sailed through for the win.