Thursday 05 Dec 2013
One of the icons of the golfing world Bernhard Langer talks about his top-flight golfing career and his strong Christian faith in BBC Radio Wales' award winning religious affairs programme All Things Considered on Sunday 26 September.
Peter Baker spoke to Bernhard Langer in Carnoustie at The British Seniors Open – which he later went on to win – the first major in his Seniors' career.
In the programme, Langer talks candidly about his childhood and his father's experiences as a prisoner of war in the Second World War: "He was captured as a POW and they put hundreds of them on a train which was heading to Siberia and the labour camps.
"Somewhere in Russia, just after they crossed the border, the train stopped and it was evening time and some of the prisoners jumped off the train and they were shot at and they missed a few of them and I guess they certainly missed my dad and so he was able to escape. He headed west on foot during the nights, hiding out in the trees during the days and a couple of weeks later the war was over."
Talking about his strong Christian faith Langer tells Peter Baker that it was after winning the Masters in Augusta in 1986, one of golf's most prestigious prizes, that he came to a significant decision about his faith.
"I woke up the next morning and thought I've got to be over the moon, I've just won one of the greatest tournaments you could ever even play in; let alone winning, I was ranked number one in the world I had a young, beautiful wife, had houses and cars and money in the bank, I was on top of the world," says Langer.
"But something was missing and I couldn't pinpoint it. I felt some kind of emptiness inside of me and I had no idea what it was, I just knew it was there."
Langer goes on to describe how during the next tournament he met up with a good golfing friend, Bobby Clampett, who suggested he go along to Bible classes and it was these classes that really changed his life: "That's when I heard about the John 33 and 35 passages when Jesus tells Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of the Jewish nation, that you have to be spiritually born again and I didn't understand that. So I had it explained by the guy teaching it, and it was very clear that this was something I'd never heard before and I was 28 years old and going to church a lot.
"So my first response was either you have a different Bible or a different teaching because I didn't hear that in my church. So either yours is wrong or theirs is wrong, it doesn't measure up, something has to give. And he says well don't believe because I told you so, buy your own Bible and read it, it's in all the Bibles.
"So I did and I bought my own Bible and kept going to the Bible studies week after week on the PGA tour and just a couple of months later it was clear that this was exactly what I needed and what I was searching for and now I don't have that void anymore, that emptiness that I did have even when I was on top of the world.
"It's a personal relationship with Jesus Christ being born again, spiritually knowing that I have forgiveness for my sins if I believe in Jesus' death and resurrection and that I could never earn my way to heaven, that only Jesus could take care of that."
Langer also talks about winning his second Masters in Augusta in 1993, how the power of prayer has helped him in his career and his views on the up-coming Ryder Cup.
All Things Considered, BBC Radio Wales, Sunday 26 September, 9am
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