Watching Bernhard Langer in contention at the 2016 Masters probably conjures a few thoughts:
- How does a 58-year-old guy stay in good shape like that?
- How does a guy hitting it 265 yards off the tee contend at Augusta National? ...and...
- Is Bernhard Langer using the now-banned anchored stroke with his long putter?
Let's take that last one: No, Langer is not anchoring his putter, at least when he putts.
The two-time Masters champion (1985, '93) sets up his putting stroke by doing everything that he did before the anchored stroke became banned on Jan. 1, 2016, including anchoring his left hand to his chest. Then, before he takes back the putter, he moves his left hand off his body just a little bit so it's not considered an anchored stroke.
That was the method Langer decided on after trying a slew of combinations of putters, grips and grip styles in the offseason. He tried traditional-length putters, including using cross-handed and claw grips, as he has used in the past to win, including at Augusta National. However, in the end, he decided he was best off sticking with an approach as close as possible to what he had been doing.
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So far, just two strokes off the 54-hole lead of defending champion Jordan Spieth, Langer's method has proven brilliant.