AUGUSTA, Ga. – While everybody was watching Friday to see if Tom Watson might have a shot at making the cut in his final Masters, Boca Raton’s own senior star was quietly putting himself into contention to win the tournament.
OK, there’s really not much of a chance that Bernard Langer will take his third green jacket at the age of 58, but try this contrast on for size.
Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam, also 58, announced Friday that he won’t play the tournament again after shooting rounds of 82 and 81 to miss the cut by a mile.
Langer, meanwhile, carefully worked his way around Augusta National in one-over 73. Add that to his opening 72 and the sturdy German has assured himself of making the Masters cut for the third time in the last four years.
When he walked off the course Friday, Langer was tied for 19th place, seven shots behind leader Jordan Spieth, who was playing the front nine. Oh, and he’s tied with World No. 1 Jason Day at the tournament’s halfway point, too.
Is it possible to do more at the age of 58? Only if you’re somebody like Jack Nicklaus, who tied for sixth here in 1998.
Nicklaus was playing very little competitive golf back then, however, while Langer is the reigning star of the Champions Tour. He has 26 victories on the senior circuit, third all-time behind Hale Irwin and Lee Trevino. He won out there with the anchor putter and he’s won already since it was banned.
The guy just always seems to be there. Check out the photos from Jack’s epic comeback Masters win in 1986, for instance. That’s Bernhard slipping the green jacket onto Nicklaus’ shoulders as the previous year’s champion.
Langer’s two Masters wins, as a matter of fact, give him two more than Day and Rory McIroy and Rickie Fowler, and one more, at the moment, than Spieth.
There is much more to say about Langer, but we’ll stop here. Might be better to save some of this stuff for the weekend if he starts quietly climbing up the leaderboard again.