At 60, Langer still relishes challenge of Augusta

Bernhard Langer of Germany plays a shot on the fifth hole during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 2, 2018

Augusta (United States) (AFP) – It has been 25 years since Bernhard Langer won the most recent of his two Masters titles, but the 60-year-old German’s enthusiasm for the challenge of Augusta National hasn’t dimmed.

“My goal is not just to maybe make the cut or something,” Langer said Monday as he looked forward to his 35th Masters start on Thursday.

“I would like to be in contention, like to be on the leaderboard and have a chance on Sunday to win the trophy — or the green jacket in this case.”

Jack Nicklaus, 46 when he won his 18th and last major title at Augusta in 1986, is the oldest Masters champion.

Langer donned his first green jacket in 1985 and his second in 1993.

Two years ago, a 58-year-old Langer trailed 22-year-old Jordan Spieth by two after 54 holes.

His closing 79, Langer says, was the result of an aggressive strategy that didn’t pan out.

“I didn’t play to finish fourth or fifth or third or whatever. I wanted to win and I played extremely aggressive right out of the get-go and got caught a couple of times with really bad breaks,” Langer said.

He’ll be attacking again this week, on a course that he has seen change over the years, its inviting fairways narrowed by intimidating plantings of trees.

“Now it’s a really good driving course,” said Langer.

“I like everything about Augusta,” he said. “If you miss the green, you can choose eight different clubs or six to play the shot.

“You really need creativity and imagination and touch, and I like that challenge … especially the fast greens.

“If you miss in the wrong place, you get punished no matter who you are. So you have to really think your way around this golf course.”