'Under the circumstances, it was one of my best shots ever'March 30, 2018 Golf News
Twenty five years ago, Bernhard Langer claimed his second Masters title. The German reminisces with Steve Carroll
Why do you think you still perform so strongly there?
There’s a couple of reasons. One is I know the golf course very well. I know where I can hit it and where not, plus I hit the ball fairly straight and solid when I play well.
But it’s become a hard golf course for me. I’m hitting 3 and 4-irons, whereas these young guys are hitting 9 and 8-irons.
They are reaching par 5s. I am not reaching so I need to make up with a good wedge shot, or putt, to make birdie.
I start off with a deficit, in a sense, off the tee and I have to make it up by better course management, better execution or a better short game.
Did you prefer Augusta National pre or post the Tiger era?
Definitely the former for me.
Let me take you back to 1993. What are your strongest memories?
It was the score on Saturday. I remember it being really windy – gusty – and Augusta plays really hard when it’s gusty.
Fifteen and 20mph winds and it changes all the time. Among the tall pine trees the wind swirls this way and, 10 seconds later, it goes the other way.
You feel so uncomfortable standing over your second shot just not knowing ‘is this going to be the right club or not’?
You just have to hit these small pockets and I really executed well. I think I shot 69 that day and really moved away from the rest of the field.
I got a four-shot lead after Saturday, which sounds somewhat comfortable but nothing is comfortable at Augusta until you get on the 18th hole.
I was watching the highlights of Sunday and what struck me was the way you really went and grabbed the tournament. You weren’t defensive and were quite aggressive with your shots.
I felt I had to be. I was trying to play smart, aggressive, and even a little defensive at first because I had a four-shot lead.
If you shoot around par, or one or two under, you should win the tournament. But it’s never easy to do. Some other guys had a really good front nine and the gap became one stroke.
My lead diminished after 10 or 11 holes. I saw the leaderboard and said ‘you are not going to win it playing defensively. You really need to go out there and earn it and make some birdies’.
I played really well and eagled the 13th.
Did you see Dan Forsman hit his ball in the water at 12?
Yes. He was right in front of me. I was on the 11th green when he teed off on 12 next to me. I saw the ball go in the water, saw him drop and I knew he made a large number.
But he wasn’t the only one chasing me. I was paired with Chip Beck and he was fairly close to me. I think it was a couple of strokes at the time.
I remember he hit a fantastic second shot into 13. He hit a 3 or 4-wood in there to, I guess, about 15 feet or 20 feet, pin high , and he had an eagle putt.
I counteracted with a 3-iron inside of him on the same line. He missed his putt but I saw the break.
I made it. At one point it looked like I might lose a stroke to him but I actually gained it. That boosted my confidence.
Interview continues on the next page, where Langer talks us through the shot that won The Masters…