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His devotion to Christianity informs everything in his life. The Langers begin their day with what Bernhard calls a "family devo." The children are homeschooled so "we can control what goes into their heads." After winning the Allianz Classic, at a course in Boca with friends and family watching, Langer told Golf Channel, "My daughter gave me a Bible verse this morning, and I have it right here in my pocket. Psalms 29:11: The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. And I had a lot of peace today." He was nearly crying.
Langer's religious life has been helping his golf life for years. Tell your ordinary I-got-into-Greensboro Tour pro that Langer says he cured his putting woes through work and prayer, and you'll get something like this: "What prayer? I'll Google it."
Langer often sits with Larry Mize, another Tour Bible-study veteran, at the Tuesday night champions dinner, which precedes the Masters. I ask Langer what he would say this year if he were sitting with Tiger Woods. "I would challenge Tiger to look into the Christian faith," he says. "I don't know if Buddha will forgive him his sins. I know Jesus will."
Langer is describing Anhausen, the Bavarian village in which he grew up, and asks me if I have been to that part of Germany.
"I've never been to Germany," I reply. "But my parents were born in Hamburg. They fled the Nazis in the late '30s with their families."
"Hamburg's in the far north," Langer says. "Completely on the other side of the country."
I ask Langer about his father. He says that Erwin was born in 1919, was conscripted to the German army in 1939 and served until the end of the war in 1945, when the Russians captured him. Erwin was on a Russian train for prisoners of war, headed to Siberia, when he escaped and made his way to Anhausen.
"What did he do in the war?" I ask.
Langer says his father seldom talked about it. "In the war he was, what do you call the person who delivers things?" Langer says.