Langer had been one of the most consistent forces in global golf over the past 20 years since turning professional aged 18 in 1976. He hasdonly finished once outside the top 30 in the season-ending European order of merit since 1980-- in 1996. Two U.S. Masters titles -- in 1985 and 1993 -- and nine successive Ryder Cup appearances remain the cornerstones of a glittering career.
Before the start of the 2001 season, he had won a remarkable 39 times in Europe. Three times during his career, he has suffered from the dreaded putting 'yips' but, each time, he has managed to battle back . His confidence was restored after he switched to a broomhandle putter towards the end of 1996. Four more European titles followed in 1997, including his third German Masters, but then he stayed winless for the next three years. Going into 2001, his 10th place on Europe's Ryder Cup team was in some doubt.
He managed to bounce back in style during 2001 and the 43-year-old finally ended his victory drought by winning the Dutch Open in July. Victory also assured him of a Ryder Cup berth in the European side at The Belfry later this year. He went on to win a second title during the year, at the German Masters in October, for his 11th career victory on home soil. He also proved to be Europe's best performer in the year's four majors, finishing tied for sixth in the U.S. Masters and joint-third in the British Open at Royal Lytham. He qualified for the prestigious Tour Championship in the United States for the first time since its inception in 1987. By the end of the year, he had finished sixth on the European money list and 22nd on the U.S. PGA Tour order of merit.