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The end of an era for one Masters legend has arrived, albeit a year later than expected.

Despite boasting a past champion exemption, the decision to call it a day at Augusta National wasn’t based on old age, rather lack of distance off the tee.

In January, Bernhard Langer – who won the Masters in 1985 and 1993 – outlined this year’s contest as his swansong.

However, after tearing his Achilles tendon in the build-up, the 66-year-old has announced he will return to Georgia for one more crack at a green jacket.

“My goal was to make this my last Masters appearance as a player. But now that I have a torn Achilles tendon, that’s not going to happen.

“I won’t be playing for a while. The goal now is to come back next year and say goodbye and farewell as a player and have a lot of my family and friends to attend.

“It will be a very emotional goodbye for me. I think I’ve never done anything like this in my life before, but Augusta and the Masters means a great deal to me and to my career.

“It’s going to be tough to realize that this will be my last round on this golf course as a competitive player.”

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The all-time leading Champions Tour winner will be making his 41st start in the Masters, 43 years on from his tournament debut.

Langer, who has only shot over 80 twice in 40 starts, will still be eligible to compete but would prefer to bow out on his own terms.

“I just realized that the course is getting too long,” he said. “It’s 7550 yards from where we tee off and the fairways are mowed against us, which means the grain is into us and the ball doesn’t run quite as much.

“It’s just very, very long, I’m going to be 67 next year and I’m getting shorter. The young guys are all getting longer, it seems. They hit 9 irons into Par 4s or whatever it may be, I hit 2 irons.

“When you do that over 72 holes. They reach the Par 5s, I can’t. It’s just not that much fun anymore.

“To me, I have to be competitive to have fun. I realized my time was there. My time is ending and finishing, and it’s time to go.

“I don’t just want to be somebody that shows up and shoots two times 78 and misses the cut by 5 or 10. That’s not me. I want to be competitive, and I want to be on the leaderboard if possible.

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The competitive fun might be over for Langer, but the German will continue to attend the Masters for as long as possible and take his place at the Champions Dinner.

Before that, though, Langer hopes to return to “full golf activities on tour” in four to eight weeks.

Up first will be a tilt at defending his US Open Senior Championship title at Newport Country Club in June.

Langer will then bid farewell to the DP World Tour in July at the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.

Langer was speaking courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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