SAN FRANCISCO - Bernhard Langer goes into Thursday's first round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a lot of confidence in his own game, but the seniors' No. 1 has been buoyed in 2010 by something else, too.
Twenty-five years after Langer became the first golfer from Germany to win a major championship with a victory at the 1985 Masters en route to becoming a Hall of Famer, a fellow German, 25-year-old Martin Kaymer, won the PGA Championship and established himself as one of the world's best. The long wait for another German star is finally over.
"I thought it would happen sooner," Langer said. "We had a couple of guys that won a tournament here or there and disappeared, then someone else came and won a tournament and you say, 'Oh, he might be the one.' Nobody's been as good as Kaymer. When you look at this guy, he's rock solid, and he's got a great head on his shoulders. For a 25-year-old, he's very mature."
Kaymer, whose PGA victory at Whistling Straits is one of four wins this year, reminds Langer of himself and how he approaches the game. "I think we actually have a lot of things in common and a lot of similarities," Langer said. "He comes from a very solid background, family-wise. He's emotionally similar to me. You know, he's not wearing his emotions on the sleeve. Kaymer, whether he shoots 66 or 86, he's the same guy. I've tried to help him a little bit and give him some advice. But most of the stuff comes pretty natural to him."
Langer and Kaymer talked before last month's Ryder Cup. If Langer has his way, Kaymer may get a chance to play a Ryder Cup on home soil in 2018. Germany is one of five European nations bidding for the competition. Langer is part of the design team for a course that would be built to host the event. "I'm going to make a trip to Germany in about 12 days to get the thing going more for Germany and get behind it and see what else we need to do," Langer said. "I know France [and other countries] want it, too. We'll see what happens."
-- Bill Fields