Bernhard Langer is hoping the German people, or his “12th man” as he describes them, can inspire him to a home victory in the Berenberg Bank Masters.
Langer is the favourite to lift the title at the Golfclub Wörthsee on the outskirts of Munich and he is hoping to live up to that pre-tournament status with a little help from his friends.
The 54 year old was born near the Bavarian town of Augsburg, which is less than a 30 minute drive from Wörthsee and can expect his usual, legendary welcome when he steps onto the first tee on Friday with last year’s Senior Tour Number One Peter Fowler and last week’s winner Massy Kuramoto of Japan.
“It is very special to be playing so close to my home this week,” said Langer, winner of two Masters Tournaments and almost 90 professional events around the world including his Senior and Champions Tour titles.
“I think I will have a lot of support from the crowds and when I play at home I really feel that advantage. They say in football that the crowd can sometimes be like the 12th man for a team and I feel that way about playing at home in Germany. The crowd can really help you to play well and to focus so I hope they can get me over the line this week.
“I certainly want to give it my best shot to win here this week. I don’t think I am the out and out favourite as there are a lot of great players on this Tour playing good golf, but I want to win.
“You just look at some of the names here and you know it will be a tough fight. Players like Ian Woosnam, Peter Fowler and Barry Lane will be a big threat.”
Langer may not have won this season but he is delighted with his form, especially after last week’s performance at the BMW International Open in Cologne, where he finished in a tie for 23rd place.
That performance was also met with German roars of delight as Langer rolled back the years to give himself a timely confidence boost ahead of his hometown return this week as he looks to snatch the Berenberg Bank Masters crown from defending champion Woosnam.
“I am happy with my game and generally happy with how my season has gone so far. I think it has been a good year with some good performances: the only thing that is really missing is a win, but hopefully that will come along soon as I feel I am doing all the right things.
“I played well last week on the main Tour and that has given me a bit more confidence. Hopefully I can turn that into a win here this week.
“The golf course here is in magnificent condition – it really is a pleasure to lay this course. It can be a challenging course and there are some real tricky dog-legs out there that really test you because you have the option of trying to take the ‘Tiger line’ and go straight over the trees or play them more conservatively.”