Bernhard Langer delves deep into LIV Golf problem, golf ball rollback, Ryder Cup

April 19, 2024

Bernhard Langer is one of the legendary figures in golf. In fact, I believe it would be quite difficult to tell the history of the sport without detailing his exploits.

Langer is a two-time Masters champion, having beat out Seve Ballesteros and Raymond Floyd for the Green Jacket in 1985. Then, eight years later, he ran away with the tournament with a four-stroke victory.

He was slated to make his final Masters appearance last week. An unfortunate Achilles injury derailed that. However, his recovery is progressing smoothly with eyes on Augusta National in 2025.

Beyond his Masters presence though, Langer is also one of five players to have ever won a professional golf tournament on six continents.

He ranks second all-time in European Tour wins with 42. The German native has won on the PGA Tour, the Asian Tour, and has 46 titles on the PGA Tour Champions, the most ever.

It is safe to say that he is someone worth listening to when it comes to important matters within the sport.

Luckily, I was granted that opportunity to spend some time with him during The Masters. We spoke at length regarding a number of hot topics, and Langer was incredibly candid during an exclusive with Playing Through.

One of the more prominent conversations among golf fans is the golf ball rollback.

The USGA and the R&A, golf’s two governing bodies, announced that the ball will be rolled back for both professionals and amateurs alike. It is not slated to take effect until 2028, but that did not stop Langer from stating just how ridiculous the current approach is.

But not for why you might expect.

“Rolling the ball back seven-to-12 yards, I think that makes no sense. That is too little, too late,” Langer said boldly.

“In four years time, the guys will already hit it seven-to-12 yards farther. When you roll it back just that much, we are going to be where we are right now. In three or four more years, they are going to have this problem again.”

As the 66-year-old would go on to detail, athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster in all sports. That is not likely to stop.

When you combine that with the advance of technology, learning “the perfect spin rate, launch angle, speed training, nutrition,” players are simply going to keep hitting it farther.

“If they are going to roll the ball back, roll it back substantially. Seven-to-12 yards does nothing in the long run for the game of golf,” Langer said.

He did however acknowledge how complicated the situation is.

Golf ball manufacturers are not going to want to pour tens of millions of dollars into a ball that only professionals will use. So, bifurcation was dead on arrival.

But that means what is already a tough sport for Sunday golfers like you and me, is only going to get harder.

“That makes it harder for the amateurs. The game is already hard and now you are going to hit it shorter. That will make it even harder.”

It was refreshing to hear Langer speak frankly and it was only made possible because of his role with Mercedes-Benz.

Langer is one of the brand ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz. The German automaker has been one of the longest running sponsors within the sport for decades. As they like to say, focus, persistence and a concentration of power are qualities they have sought and found in golf, which aligns with what they bring to their products everyday.

“I won here [Augusta National] in 1985 and had a contract with Jaguar,” Langer said while wearing one of his Green Jackets.

“Someone asked ‘how come a German guy is driving an English car when there are so many great German car manufacturers?’”

“I said, ‘good question.’ I then got a call from Mercedes-Benz and we connected and have been together ever since.”

Mercedes has been a huge proponent of the sport for a very long time, but also imbues its values.

The automaker recently announced a multi-year partnership with lifestyle golf brand Eastside Golf to forge a more inclusive game of golf and increase access and opportunities to play and grow the sport. Together, they will