“The Payne Stewart Award celebrates the attributes that make our communities great – character, charity and sportsmanship. Southern Company is proud to recognize Bernhard, a fierce competitor, teacher and advocate for children who personifies these worthy aspirations. We extend our sincere congratulations to Bernhard, one of the most successful and revered golfers in the world."
Tom Fanning, Chairman, President and CEO, Southern Company
On the course, there has been no one more consistent or resilient over a longer period of time than Bernhard. He’s won all over the world and continues to lift trophies on a regular basis on PGA TOUR Champions. I’m still not so sure Father Time will ever catch him.
Jay Monahan - PGA TOUR Commissioner
In recognition of his supreme level of character and sportsmanship, his professionalism and the distinguished manner in which he embraces the values of golf, Bernhard Langer has been named the recipient of the PGA TOUR’s 2018 Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company. Langer will be honored on Tuesday, September 18, at the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony in conjunction with the TOUR Championship. The ceremony will be televised live on Golf Channel as part of a “Golf Central” special from 7-8 p.m. ET.
Langer turned professional in 1972 at the age of 15 and joined the European Tour shortly thereafter, in 1976. He became a PGA TOUR member for four seasons beginning in 1985 and rejoined the TOUR in 2001. Originally from Munich, Germany, Langer and his wife Vikki currently reside in Boca Raton, Florida, and have four children: Jackie, Stefan, Christina and Jason.
“Bernhard Langer epitomizes the ideals around which the Payne Stewart Award is built – character, charity and sportsmanship,” said PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan. “Fueled by his strong faith and steadfast humility, Bernhard has become one of the great ambassadors for this game and continues to set an admirable example every time he tees it up on the PGA TOUR Champions.
As the recipient of the award, Langer has chosen the Bernhard Langer Foundation as his charity. The foundation distributes funds to several charitable organizations that focus on providing aid to children, orphans and widows in South Florida. His charitable impact also stretches beyond the borders of the United States to his native Germany, where donations help needy families and children.
A devout Christian, Langer organizes an annual charity event called “Youth for Christ” that raises money to help introduce Christianity to children. Other charitable organizations that Langer supports include National House of Hope Inc., Search Ministries Inc., Sheridan House Family Ministries and 4 Kids of South Florida.
In addition, Langer frequently speaks at Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) functions in PGA TOUR Champions host cities and was one of the original founders and the guiding force behind the European Tour’s weekly Bible study class. During his day-to-day life on PGA TOUR Champions, Langer is a model for what the Tour strives to accomplish in providing fans with accessibility and personal interactions with the legends of the game.
Langer was honored for his contributions to the game in 2006 with his appointment as honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which was originally created by King George V during World War I to reward services to the war effort by civilians, but is now given to those who make significant contributions in their own areas of activity.
Langer has enjoyed nothing short of a legendary career on the golf course ever since he was first introduced to the game at 8 years old, following in his brother’s footsteps to become a caddie at the Augsburg Golf Club in Germany. Since turning professional in 1972, Langer has collected over 100 worldwide wins and is one of five players to win tournaments on six continents, joining Gary Player, David Graham, Hale Irwin and Justin Rose.
Langer was the inaugural No. 1-ranked player in the world when the Official World Golf Ranking was first introduced in 1986 and spent three weeks atop the rankings. He was a 10-time European Ryder Cup team member and captained the victorious 2004 team.
A two-time Masters champion (1985, 1993), Langer was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002 as the first German to be honored.