Multiple Major winner Bernhard Langer will make a welcome return to European Tour Senior action when he tees up on home soil at this week’s Berenberg Bank Masters.
The German, who won the Masters Tournament twice in a glittering career on The European Tour, will be teeing up on the Senior Tour for the first time since winning the Senior Open Championship last year at Carnoustie.
One week later, he won the US Senior Open at Sahalee in Washington, to become the first man since American Tom Watson in 2003 to win back-to-back Senior Majors, and only the second European after England’s Mark James to win a Senior Major in the United States.
Langer will now go in search of his fourth European Senior Tour title at Cologne Golf und Land Club in Cologne, Germany, where he will be making his first competitive appearance for three months having recently recovered from a thumb injury.
The €400,000 event will mark the first Senior Tour event to be held in Germany for a decade, and Langer, who will also play the role of tournament host in tandem with his brother Erwin, is relishing the prospect of teeing up in his homeland.
Langer, Official Ambassador of the Berenberg Bank Masters, said: “We are excited about bringing tournament golf back to the North Rhine-Westphalia region. With the title sponsor Berenberg Bank and the host venue Golf und Land Club in Cologne, we have two excellent partners for this event.
“My brother Erwin and I have found the right location, and know from past experience that there is considerable support and interest in the game amongst the local community. We are convinced that the Berenberg Bank Masters will be one of the highlights of the 2011 Senior Tour Schedule.”
Langer will be joined in Cologne by fellow former Ryder Cup Captains Mark James, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, as well as Sandy Lyle, the two-time Major Champion who is currently third on the Senior Tour Order of Merit.
Also in the field is defending champion Boonchu Ruangkit, the winner of the 2010 Senior Tour Order of Merit who captured the third of his three Senior Tour titles at the inaugural Berenberg Bank Masters last year, when it was held in South Africa.
Having claimed his maiden Senior Tour title at last week’s De Vere Club PGA Seniors Championship, Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn now heads to Cologne to attempt to become the first player to win back-to-back titles on the 2011 Senior Tour Schedule.
Oldcorn said: “Although I was tempted to have a few drinks to celebrate my first victory on Sunday night, the Berenberg Bank Masters is a very big tournament, so I had to put the champagne on ice for another week. Instead I’ve just got to concentrate on conserving my energy and keeping going, because my confidence is sky high now.”
Of the home contingent, Torsten Giedeon – who won the 1990 World Cup for Germany alongside Langer – will hope to benefit from the local knowledge he has gained as head coach at the Cologne Golf und Land Club.
Founded in 1906 and one of one of Germany’s oldest courses, Cologne Golf und Land Club runs through dense woodland at Refrath.
Designed by Bernhard von Limburger, the course hosted the German Open in 1978, when the late, great Seve Ballesteros took the title, and later in 1983, when America’s former Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin lifted the trophy.
The Senior Tour has previously visited Germany for the Senior German Open from 1995 to 1997, while the last Senior Tour event to be played in the country was the 2001 Palmerston Trophy Berlin, which was held at the Palmerston Golf Resort and won by Ireland’s Denis O’Sullivan.