[PHOTO: Patrick McDermott]

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer said that this year’s Masters tournament will be his final appearance as a competitor.

Langer, 66, made the announcement this week in Hawaii during the start of the PGA Tour Champions’ season.

“It’s exciting,” Langer said in an interview with Golf Channel, “but at the same time, I’m aware that I’m going to be hitting 3-irons and 2-hybrids when the guys are hitting 9-irons into the green, and that’s tough to compete against. But it’s a challenge, and I usually don’t shy away from challenges.”

Langer has made 40 career starts at the Masters, joining Larry Mize last year in becoming just the 13th and 14th players in tournament history to crack the 40-start barrier. He won the green jacket in 1985 with a two-stroke victory over Seve Ballesteros, Raymond Floyd and Curtis Strange, and again in 1993 by holding off Chip Beck by four shots for his second triumph.

Known for his competitive longevity, Langer remained formidable at Augusta National as he aged. He posted a top-10 finish as late as 2014, and in 2020 he beat reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau by a shot despite surrendering 35 years and some 60 metres in driving distance to DeChambeau.

However, Langer has missed the cut in his past three Masters appearances, and has acknowledged the game’s growing distance gains make it tough on him to compete with younger players.

Last year Langer became the ‘winningest’ player in PGA Tour Champions history with his victory at the US Senior Open. He has more than 120 global wins in his career, and has been a member of 10 European Ryder Cup teams.

The 2024 Masters begins on April 11. Jon Rahm is the defending champion.