‘Couldn’t believe it’: Cut confusion gives Bernhard Langer second life

bernhard langer holds driver at KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

Bernhard Langer thought his PGA Championship was over. Then something surprising happened.

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Bernhard Langer was frustrated.

It was Friday evening at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, and after a “befitting” (and perhaps befuddling) triple-bogey 7 on the seventh hole, Langer was sure he’d missed the cut. He was 3 over for the tournament, and with the cutline hanging around 2 over, Langer knew he’d needed a birdie on the eighth or ninth holes (his last two of the day) to ensure he’d land on the right side of the cut.

“I missed them both,” he said. “Yeah, thought I was packing.”

Langer left the course dejected on Friday evening and returned to the rental house shared between him and a handful of other Senior PGA competitors. He turned his phone off and went to bed, hoping to get a few hours of shuteye before figuring out his plans for a (golf-less) weekend. But then, sometime in the morning, a phone rang.

“I was up until late thinking, well, there is no point getting up. I was going to sleep as long as I could and come out and have breakfast, work out,” Langer said. “I’m staying at house with three other guys and Marco Dawson is one of them and he made the cut. He calls Fred Funk at 7:36 a.m. If he had called me I wouldn’t have heard it. My phone was off.”

Dawson had news for Funk and Langer: late Friday night, while the two golfers were sulking in their rental house after finishing at 3 over, there’d been some leaderboard movement. A host of players had tumbled down the leaderboard in the late stages of the day, pushing the cutline further down than expected. Langer had made the cut.

‘He says, ‘hey you guys made the cut,'” Langer said. “You better get out here. You may be playing in 45 minutes or a half hour, because tee times were 8:15 to 10-something.”

Fortunately, Langer lucked out. His tee time wasn’t until 10:05 a.m., giving him ample time to get to the course and work in a warmup.

With nothing to lose and an unexpected paycheck coming his way, Langer walked out to the tee as a new man at 10 a.m. local time. And, once play began at Harbor Shores Golf Club again, the 66-year-old looked every bit a two-time former Masters champion.

Langer made six birdies before his first bogey on Saturday at the Senior PGA, and seven in total, to shoot a stunning six-under 65, pushing him all the way up the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd.

In other words, just hours after Langer had been so convinced he missed the cut he hadn’t even bothered to check his phone, he’d pushed himself into contention in the senior major.

“Yeah, it was great news. Couldn’t believe it at first,” Langer said. “[We thought] somebody must have screwed up or whatever, and we found out it was the app.”

Great news, indeed. And even better once Langer sees what a top-25 finish pays at the Senior PGA. Twenty-fifth place nets a cool $32,750 for the week. More than enough, one hopes, to purchase a back-up alarm.

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