First there was Arnold Palmer’s farewell tour at the Masters. Then there was the Golden Oldie challenge, led by 46-year-old Bernhard Langer.
A two-time Masters champion, Langer briefly was tied for the lead on the front nine of the final round. He stayed within one stroke of the lead until being doomed by inconsistent play on 13 and 15, the two par 5s on the back nine.
Regardless, Langer tied for fourth with Sergio Garcia, six strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson. Langer shot 71-73-69-72–285.
Playing the 13th, Langer was looking to tie once again for the lead with a birdie. After his second shot bounced over the green, his third shot went 15 feet past and he missed the birdie putt.
It was the 15th, though, that completely erased his chances.
“I needed to make some birdies, and I decided to be aggressive,” he said. “I hit a bad tee shot at 15, and the ball was in the pine needles behind a tree. I had to chip sideways.”
Langer’s third shot carried the pond in front of the green, but rolled back down the closely mown slope and
finished in the water. He ended up with a double-bogey 7.
“I thought my experience would help me, but the course has changed dramatically since 1985,” he said.
Langer won the Masters in 1985 and 1993. He also was runner-up at the British Open in 1981 and 1984.
Despite the resurgence of his golf game, Langer maintained throughout the Masters that he would not be a playing captain in this year’s Ryder Cup. Last year he was named captain of the European team, and he has said that he will not participate as a player.
“If I had won this Masters, I would not change my mind,” he said. “I will not play. Being the captain is a very big responsibility.”