Although he has missed the cut in his last four trips to Augusta National and his two Masters victories seem long removed, Bernhard Langer, at 52 years old, spent much of his first round on the Masters leader board. Although the German stumbled the last two holes with bogeys, his one-under-par 71 left him feeling good about his game.
"It's a blessing to be here and be competitive," said Langer, who won his first Masters 25 years ago in 1985. "It still brings out the goosebumps coming here. Going down Magnolia Lane and standing on the first tee."
Langer's putting produced some goosebumps as well, including a 40-footer at the 16th that brought him to three under par for his round. Asked after the round if he thought someone 50-plus could win, Langer said, "I think it's possible. Couples, Watson, some others have the game to do it."
Noticeably absent from that list was Langer himself, but when pressed he said on his own chances he said, "Sure. Over 50 you can still win majors. But it's a little harder here because of [Augusta National's] length. I've changed, but the course has changed a lot more."
For one day, though, it seemed like old times for the former champion.
- *E. Michael Johnson