Two-time Masters Champion Bernard Langer talks exclusively to Golf Monthly ahead of the 2014 Masters at Augusta National

Bernhard Langer is now 56, which makes him an experienced golfer just in terms of the Champions Tour  – for golfers aged over 50 – let alone in terms of the field for the first major of the year this week at Augusta National.

Yet Langer, who won the Masters in 1985 and 1993, is enjoying his customarily fast start to the Champions Tour season again, with a win and four other top-10 finishes in five starts so far, to lead the senior circuit’s points list. Then factor in what the German golfer achieved at the Masters last year, when he started the final round in ninth place. Eventually he finished in a tie for 25th after rain and a dose of misfortune derailed his challenge, but nonetheless, it was a performance that has fed the Langer fires.

“At 55 years old I was really in contention last year,” recalls Langer in an exclusive interview with Golf Monthly. “I was two shots off the lead with 12 holes to go, and it felt like a great performance at my age, when I am hitting the ball 20 to 40 yards shorter than many of the guys out there. It gives me hope that I can still compete at Augusta for a few more years, as long as I do not lose a lot more length off the tee.”

That misfortune came at the 13th in last year’s final round, when Langer struck a hybrid second shot that looked destined for the green until the ball just clipped a the slightest of over-hanging branches, from when it dove left into the azaleas, never to be found.

“I made seven,” recalls Langer, “When I could have been putting for eagle or birdie. There is nothing you can do about it. That’s golf.”

It has not stopped Langer coming back for his 31st Masters appearance this week.

“After nearly 40 years on tour I am still excited to play golf and to compete and I have the drive to work hard,” he says. “Some people lose that drive, or would rather go fishing, but I still love golf and I think I can still improve. That is my overall goal, to improve, even if by just a little bit, and if I can do that then I should be in contention on tour. There is always room for improvement. I pace myself with around 25 tournaments a year, and I can see myself playing on tour for a number of years still to come. If I were shooting 78s or 80s that would be no fun, and I would rather stay at home with the kids.”

Langer tees off in the first round at 5:53pm (UK time) with Italy’s Francesco Molinari and American Chris Kirk.

Robin Barwick travelled to Augusta National courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, Global Sponsor of the 2014 Masters Tournament