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Bernhard Langer
Associated Press/Photo by Paul Sancya
Bernhard Langer

The missing part

Sports | Champion golfer Bernhard Langer isn't shy about his Christianity

Issue: "Day of reckoning," June 14, 2014

At age 56, Bernhard Langer is a two-time Masters Champion and Hall of Famer. But that isn’t what he wants you to know most about him, he revealed to a North Carolina sports radio audience last year. 

A young Langer earned pocket money as a caddie growing up in West Germany, left school to pursue a golf career, and joined the European Tour in 1976. His prowess grew rapidly until as a rich and famous 28-year-old he won the Masters Championship in 1985.

But like a more recent example of Tiger Woods, what he had wasn’t enough to satisfy. “The next morning, I had this emptiness inside of me—even though I was World No. 1,” Langer said. “I had just won a Masters, I had money, I had fame, I had cars, houses, and a beautiful young wife.”

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The feeling stuck with him as he drove to Hilton Head Island, S.C., to prepare for his next tournament. During a practice round, fellow golfer Bobby Clampett invited him to a Bible study. “Bible study? What exactly is that?” he asked. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was an altar boy. But at the study, the chaplain shared from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus: “You will not enter the kingdom of God unless you’re born again.” 

“And I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Born again? What is that?’” Langer said. “I hadn’t heard that in all the churches I had been to. … At first I thought, ‘Well, he’s using a different Bible than we use.’” But a few months after that Bible study, he “knew exactly” what he needed. “The Bible says nobody is so good that they can earn their way there,” he said, “but no one is so bad that God couldn’t forgive them their sins.”

Langer’s priorities changed, and they remained so even as he won the 1993 Masters on Easter Sunday, participated in 10 Ryder Cups, and found himself in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002. He’s still not bad at golf today. He has two wins on the Champions Tour this year, plus a top-10 finish back at the Masters in April. He’s not shy about his story, whether it be with a statewide audience on North Carolina’s David Glenn Show, other media engagements, or his autobiography. Where he once had emptiness, now he has “a personal relationship” with Jesus.

“That was the missing part.” 

Compelled speech?

Handout

The WNBA has become the first professional sports league actively to promote the LGBT lifestyle. Some teams have had their own events for years, including booths at gay pride parades. League research has found that a quarter of self-described lesbians watch games on TV or in the stands. But this new league-wide initiative, announced May 21, says it is “celebrating inclusion and equality, while combating anti-LGBT bias.”

The wide-reaching objective includes a nationally televised “WNBA Pride” game June 22 on ESPN2, and players throughout the league will have to wear LGBT-promoting gear during certain June games. Franchises will also have “team participation” in LGBT Pride parades and festivals. How and if Christian athletes will be compelled to participate isn’t clear. League officials have not returned calls and emails. —A.B.

Friday night blight

Associated Press/Photo by LM Otero

School administrators in Allen, Texas, have closed a $60 million high-school football stadium for the year. The taxpayer-funded palace opened in 2012, but the district shuttered the 18,000-seat stadium in February after cracks appeared in the concourse. Now an outside firm has found further building code violations, including some stadium supports that essentially weren’t built to hold the weight of fans in the seats. Officials insist the architectural and construction firms must fund repairs. —A.B.

Andrew Branch
Andrew Branch

Andrew is a freelance writer living in Raleigh, N.C. He was homeschooled for 12 years and recently graduated from N.C. State University. He writes about sports and poverty for WORLD. Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewABranch.

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