November 18, 2008 – Bernhard Langer is looking for some youthful inspiration from his son Stefan as he attempts to make history at this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open.
The German legend is seeking to win the tournament for a second time – 17 years after his first success.
That would break the record for the longest gap between Hong Kong titles currently held by Taiwanese great Lu Liang Huan.
The player popularly known as “Mr Lu” won the inaugural Hong Kong Open in 1959 and reclaimed the crown 15 years later in 1974.
Langer, 51, will have 18-year-old Stefan – one of his four children – as his caddie when the US$2.5 million tournament tees off at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on Thursday (November 20).
“He caddies for me a couple of times a year,” explained the two-time Masters champion. “He has never been to Japan or Hong Kong so this is a unique trip for him to see both places.
“It also means I can spend some time with him as he will be going off to college in a few months.
“He knows a lot about the game. He was a scratch player a couple of years ago. He has caddied for me four times before and we have won two of them, so he’s pretty good.”
Langer is one of eight former winners of the UBS Hong Kong Open taking part in this week’s 50th edition of the tournament, which is once again co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.
Others include Colin Montgomerie, champion in 2005 and José María Olazábal, winner in 2001.
Miguel ángel Jiménez, champion in 2004 and again last year, is back to defend his title.
Langer won the event in 1991 but is making his first trip to Fanling for more than 15 years. “It is great to be back in this part of the world. I have some wonderful memories here,” he said.
As well as beating Lu’s 15-year gap between titles, Langer would also set a record as the European Tour’s oldest ever winner. Ireland’s Des Smyth was 48 when he won the Madeira Island Open in 2001.
But Langer insisted that would not be on his mind. “It is not my thing to break records,” he said. “If it happens, great. I am here to play the best I can and hopefully that will be enough to win but there are a lot of great players in the field and it is not going to be easy.
“My motivation is not to be the oldest player to win but to play as good as I can play and if I can do that I should compete.”