Bernhard Langer has been one of the most dissatisfied players with the USGA’s decision to ban anchored putting, anchoring the top of the putter grip to the body as a stabilizing fulcrum against the yips.
But the time to make his case has come and gone to no avail. And so now he begins the next chapter in his efforts to beat the yips and continue his storied career.
I had a chance to talk to him about his plans in the media room at the Charles Schwab Cup at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Q. Have you given any thought to how you’re going to handle this transition to the new putter? I mean, have you got a strategy developed yet or you’re not even thinking about that yet?
BERNHARD LANGER: I’ve thought about it a little bit. I’ve gathered a few putters, different styles, different lengths, different grips. My first thought is I’ll probably go back to what I did before I went to the long putter, which was what Kuchar does, holding the putter against the left forearm that way, and Soren Kjeldsen in Europe does the same thing. I putted that way for seven years and I won a number of tournaments including the Masters, and if you can putt on the Masters greens and win with a grip like that, I would think I could do it in other tournaments but we’ll see. There’s other options, that’s just one of the options.
Q. Why did you get away from that? It was successful. Did you just find that the longer one was even better or was there something else?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I probably had some trouble at some point and wasn’t satisfied with my putting, so I just messed around with a bunch of other things and I really thought I would never go to the long putter because Sam Torrance encouraged me to go to that putter two or three years before I went to it and I tried 10 putts on the putting green and he gave me a couple tips and it felt awful. I said there’s no chance I’m ever going to end up with this and then I did. If you practice something long enough, you can probably conquer most things.
Q. Do you think that you can do this by yourself or would you work with a coach?
BERNHARD LANGER: I don’t know yet. Mostly by myself. I can’t see Willi Hofmann, my German coach, coming in for two months nonstop and working on my putting. I think that would be a little boring and expensive, so no, mostly myself. I might get advice here and there, but I’ve been around long enough, I’ve seen all sorts of grips and techniques and this may be the time to try something different.
Spend any time at all with Langer and you come away liking him for his intelligent candor and warmth. And wishing him well in his search to stay at the top of the game.