Bernhard Langer made a visit to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, early this week to get a tour of Sanford Health and take a look at Minnehaha Country Club, where this golf legend will be competing in the Sanford International presented by Cambria Sept. 16-22.
His visit coincides with an emerging role as an ambassador on behalf of Sanford Health to the world of golf. It also coincides with him continuing to be one of the tour’s shining stars.
“I’m thrilled and excited to be an ambassador for Sanford Health,” Langer said during a stop at the Sanford Fieldhouse. “I had no idea how big Sanford is or what is happening here in Sioux Falls.”
The 61-year-old, who will be 62 by the time he begins play in the second annual PGA Tour Champions stop in Sioux Falls, secured his legacy in the sport to his American audience after he won his second Masters in 1993.
He remains one of the world’s finest golfers. He took on the challenges of the PGA Tour Champions when he turned 50 and nearly 12 years later, the competitiveness and enthusiasm are still there.
Scheduling issues kept Langer from playing in the Sanford International last fall. He watched some of it on television, however, and took note of the positive comments about the event that came forth from his colleagues the following weeks.
With recommendations from tournament host and two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North, as well as in conversation with all-time great Jack Nicklaus, Sanford Health officials pursued Langer for a role representing the health care organization.
That ultimately led to Monday’s get-to-know-us visit from Langer.
“It’s a thrill to be affiliated with Sanford and to see all that is happening here,” he said. “It is far bigger and greater and better than I ever thought it would be.”
Just as the charms of competitive golf remain, so too does the novelty of playing someplace new. And that’s not so easy to do if you’re Bernhard Langer. He’s played in tournaments on six continents with 114 total professional wins.
“I’ve seen a lot of different cultures but I haven’t been to Sioux Falls yet,” he said. “It will be a brand new experience. I already love what I’ve seen in the few hours I’ve been here. The people are extremely nice. The Midwest — well, your reputation goes before you. I don’t have to say much more about that.”
Langer: No plans to slow down
Langer has won 11 Champions Tour major championships since 2010 with his most recent earlier this season at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in the Senior Open Championship in England. He has 40 Champions Tour victories in all and has two tournament wins this year with more than $1.6 million in prize money for this season.
Why would someone decide it’s time to slow down when they’re still playing so well? That’s what Langer asks himself. And it’s why he’s still playing seriously.
“I just love the game. I enjoy playing golf and competing against the best,” he said. “And I’m fairly good at it so what else is there to do? Golf is a great game. If I wouldn’t be playing as a professional I’d probably still play four times a week just for fun. That’s what keeps me going. I just love it. So obviously I’m going to be 62 soon here so the clock is ticking but I think I still have a few good years in me.”
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