Who is Bernhard Langer? Remarkable Rags to Riches Golf Story

Photo of author
Last Update:

Our website is supported by our readers. We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. For more details see our disclaimers page.

PGA golf professional, Bernhard Langer has one of the most remarkable stories of modern-day golfers. While he tends to go under the radar, don’t let that fool you! His story is one for the history books.

If you ask the casual golf fan to name a few modern-day greats, you’ll probably hear names like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Jordan Spieth. But one name that is often forgotten is Bernhard Langer.

The German-born golfer has had one of the most remarkable careers in recent memory and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Here’s a look at his incredible story.

From Humble Beginnings to the Big Time

Bernhard Langer was born in August 1957 in Anhausen, Augsburg, West Germany. He is the third child of Czech refugees, Erwin and Walburga (Wally) Langer. The young couple met after his father escaped from a Russian prison camp in World War II.

Langer is the youngest of three children, and from the time he was born he was against the odds. The doctor didn’t think he would make it, but he survived anyway.

Despite being poor, Langer describes his childhood as a happy one. While the essentials were taken care of, he would wear his brother’s clothes making ends meet.

His mother worked as a housekeeper, while his father was a bricklayer. He routinely went to church and was an altar boy in the Catholic church.

His family didn’t have much money, so his early golf experiences were humble ones. When Bernhard Langer was eight years old, his brother, who worked as a caddie, introduced him to golf. He adopted the practice and developed a love for the game.

After discovering he had a natural talent, Langer started caddying for some extra pocket change.

“I come from a very humble, poor family background. I didn’t grow up in a rich family and you’re part of a country club right away and everything is given to you. I had to earn it. I had to buy my own first clubs, they weren’t handed to me. I didn’t have a lesson for seven years, couldn’t afford it. So I appreciated when I did have a first golf lesson, and got some help in trying to figure it out.”  

Bernhard Langer – USA Today

Professional Golf Career of Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer Putter in hand. The St Mellion Timeshare TPC was held at St Mellion in 1983 and 1984. These photographs are from the 1984 tournament which commenced on 7th June, it turned out to be the last in the TPC series. It was also the only win in the career of Brazilian golfer Jaime Gonzales. The winner's cheque was £16660. In 1983 it was won by Bernhard Langer who won £13330 The Tournament Players Championship was a European Tour golf tournament which was played in either England or Scotland each year from 1977 to 1984. Except in the first two years the official name took the form "[Sponsor's name] TPC". "Tournament Players Championship" was also the original name of the PGA Tour's Players Championship, which is the richest event on that tour, but in Europe the TPC tag has been applied variously to this British event and to otherwise unrelated events in Germany, the Deutsche Bank Open TPC of Europe, and in Portugal, the Portuguese Open TPC, and does not confer any particular status. Indeed, the British event had somewhat below average prize money for a European Tour event. Winners of the Tournament Players Championship included two major champions, Nick Faldo of England and Bernhard Langer of Germany. Courtesy of Wikipedia - To view full article click Tournament Players Championship For tournament statistics click here Tournament Statistics
Bernhard Langer – 1984 at St Mellion, Courtesy of Wikipedia

At the very young age of 15, Langer became a professional golfer. He was 18 when he began competing on the European Tour.

When I first got on tour I didn’t have any money and I had to sleep in my car at times and rent a room for five dollars where there were bugs crawling around. So I appreciate a nice hotel, a five‑star hotel, a good meal, courtesy cars, when I used to take the train and the bus and hold my bag and drag my suitcase. 

Bernhard Langer – USA Today

By the 1980s, Bernhard Langer had become one of the best golfers in the world. He had achieved world-wide success winning a pro tournament on every golf-playing continent. In addition, he participated in 10 Ryder Cup teams and served as the captain of the 2004 Victorious European team.

For his contributions to the sport, he received an honorary OBE in 2006. This coveted distinction makes him an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Additionally, he has been awarded the Silver Laurel Leaf, the highest sports honor in Germany. The Bryon Nelson award, the Arnold Palmer award, and the Charles Schwab Cup are just some of his golf accolades.

Apart from the European Tour, he had previously won 42 tournaments during his formative years as a professional golfer. He has been a member of the Japan and Asian Tours. In addition, he won the national open championship in Germany in 1997.

He won the Administaff Small Business Classic in 2007 after turning 50 toward the end of the year. Afterward, he continued to win, winning enough to be named Player of the Year from 2008 to 2010 and once more in 2014. Langer won five times in 2010, including the British and American Senior Opens. 

Bernhard Langer Injury & History of Yips

At the 2021 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Bernhard Langer injured his back suffering a back spasm while playing against Jim Furyk. In many ways, he has not had an easy time developing as a golfer. Over the years he has had a history of the yips, and each time he has overcome them.

Read Next: 7 Tips for Senior Golfers: Improve Your Golf Game as You Age

Senior Golf Career: PGA Tour Champions

Bernhard Langer, drive shot at Players Championship in 2009.  Author: Keith Allison
2009 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship Pro-Am at Baltimore Country Club/Five Farms Photo: Keith Allison

As Langer drew closer to his later 50s, the senior victories and majors continued with force. When he won the Senior British Open in 2014, he gained a third senior major, breaking the previous record by 13 shots.

By the time he won the 2017 Regions Tradition, Langer had tied Jack Nicklaus for the most senior major victories ever with eight. He was 59 years old at the time. Langer won again in the following major, the Senior PGA Championship, to take sole possession of the record. He currently holds the record for the most wins at 11 senior major championships.

Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to the Senior Golf Tour

Bernhard Langer Net Worth & Earnings

Mr. Langer is one of the wealthiest golfers, and the money he earned over the course of his career from the different competitions and tournaments he won built up to a sizeable fortune. Additionally, Langer has won numerous senior major championships, for which he was given numerous honors and cash prizes. His talent and desire to make a name for himself in the sports world brought him fame and money.

Bernhard Langer earned $31,908626 in his PGA Champions Tour that kicked off in 2007, which is about three times what he made ($10,759,526) during his PGA Tour.

He nevertheless produced 324 PGA Tour starts in his career despite suffering quite a few injuries. During the Schwab Cup, he earned almost $8 million in bonuses, bringing his career earnings as a professional golfer to $40 million. He ranks among the best earners on the PGA Tour of all time based on his professional career earnings.

His group won the Ryder Cup five times. Every two years, the United States and Germany compete in a golf match known as the Ryder Cup. He served as captain of the European squad even though he did not participate in the Ryder Cup that year. Despite not participating in the European Ryder Cup squad in 2004, he led the team as the captain.

Read Next: 5 Drills & Tips to Increase Golf Swing Speed for Seniors

Bernhard Langer: Wife, Family, & Spiritual Beliefs

Christina Langer, daughter of Bernhard Langer plays golf at FAU in 2015.
Christina Langer 4.20.15 – Following in her Father’s Footsteps

He has been married to his wife, Vikki Carol since 1984. They have had four children together: Christina, Jackie, Jason, and Stefan. Bernhard and Vikki Carol have two homes in Anhausen, Germany, and Boca Raton, Florida.

Bernhard Langer’s Daughter – Christina

His daughter, Christina played golf at Florida Atlantic University and was the Co-Team Captain (2015-2016). On occasion, she also has been he father’s caddie on the PGA Tour Champions. Years following college she worked as a personal trainer.

In 2018 she married Chase De Jong, a professional baseball pitcher. He currently plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and previously with the Los Angeles Dodgers. De Jong is also an excellent golfer and has been noted to have a 2 handicap.

Christian Beliefs

Bernhard’s spiritual life changed in 1985 as he realized Christianity was simply a connection with God and had nothing to do with religion. Instead, his relationship with God, family, and fellowship with other believers are among the things he values most in life.

Caddie Terry Holt

Like his home life, Caddie Terry Holt has been with Langer since 2008 This long-term combo seems to make a dynamic duo!

Holt was quoted by Sport.net as saying that Bernhard Lander “convinced himself and his body that it can continue to improve with age – really, honestly. and he has proven it.”

Bernhard Langer Fun Facts

  • Bernhard Langer has been skiing since 4 years old and considers himself a “scratch skier”
  • He has a love for fast cars. And, he is the brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz.
  • When asked, his dream foursome would be Lee Trevino, Ben Hogan, and Byron Nelson.
  • Langer has participated in more Masters tournaments than any other European, and he has also played in more Masters rounds and survived more cuts.
  • His life on tour was halted at the beginning of his career for 18 months while he served in the German Air Force.
  • His favorite book is the Bible.

Bernhard Langer WITB (What’s In The Bag)?

For a detailed review of Mr. Langer’s golf bag, you’ll want to read our article, Bernhard Langer WITB. Mr. Langer is full of surprises using a combination of old golf clubs to newer Tour Edge clubs.

Langer is perhaps most known for his Classic Odyssey 2-ball long putter. This well-known broom handle putter is one of the most unusual and fascinating putters in the game, due to its unique look. It must be a winner since he’s been using it for over 20 years!

For accessories, he is known to wear Athalon shoes, Titleist gloves, and Titleist Pro VI golf balls to round up his equipment.

⛳️ Read Next: Hit Further with the 10 Top Golf Balls for Slow Swing Speeds

Final Thoughts

Bernhard Langer is one of the most successful golfers of all time—and yet, he doesn’t always get the credit he deserves. With the sheer amount of victories, there’s no doubt that Mr. Langer is one of the greatest players of his generation—if not all time.

Next time you watch golf on TV, keep an eye out for him; you may be surprised by what you see.

Related Golf Articles to Read Next

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!
Photo of author

AUTHOR

Erin has spent over 17 years as a healthcare executive working with seniors in nursing homes, skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living communities. She also holds a Masters Degree in Social Work and other advanced degrees related to seniors.

Erin grew up playing golf in a family of golf fanatics. She started this site to help others add more enjoyment to the game of life through golf.

X (Twitter) | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest