Remember the odd tale President Donald Trump told about Bernhard Langer's frustrating experience on Election Day? As the New York Times reported it, Trump used the story to illustrate his contention that millions of votes had been cast by "illegals" (none for him, of course), claiming that the German golfer had been turned away while in line to vote and that Langer had noticed other "voters who did not look as if" they should have been able to cast ballots, possibly because they were Latin American.
Among the many issues with that story was that Langer could not have voted under any circumstances, because he is not a U.S. citizen, and that his daughter told the Times that the two-time Masters winner was "not a friend of President Trump's," which contradicted the president's description of their relationship. The Times cited three unidentified witnesses who said that Trump had placed Langer at the center of the story, but an administration official claimed that the president was relaying an anecdote told to Langer by a friend of the golfer.
Speaking to reporters Thursday at the Allianz Championship, Langer reiterated his previously stated contention that the story had not come from him originally, and that it passed through several other parties before reaching the president's ears. This time, he added that he had received an apology from Trump, and he claimed his daughter had been misquoted.
"We talked on the phone, and he was very clear ... if there was anything that hurt me, he apologized," Langer said during a news conference (via TCPalm.com). "And I apologized, too, for some of the quotes that were incorrect, and we're on good terms.
"It was fun talking to him briefly, and I thought that's a great gesture from him because he's got a lot of other things to be concerned about, not just, you know, this golfer Bernhard Langer. He's got far more important things to do. But for him to take the time, talk to me for a brief while and clear things up is pretty amazing."
The 59-year-old Langer was speaking at the Champions Tour stop in Boca Raton, Florida, where he has lived for 30 years as a green-card holder and become a dominant force on the PGA's 50-and-over circuit. He denied speaking about the voter-fraud story directly to Trump, an avid golfer who owns several courses that have hosted high-level events.
"I didn't say anything to the president," Langer said. "We never talked. I told a story to a friend and the friend told a story to another friend and another friend and another friend. Somewhere down the line, six people later, somebody knew somebody at the White House and that's how it went, OK?
"It's kind of weird because you're being talked about without being talked to. Then you read the story and it's not like it's a fact, it's like, oh, I heard this from so-and-so and I have a source that told me this and I have a friend that told me that."
Langer then addressed the Times's reporting that his daughter had told the newspaper, "He is not a friend of President Trump's, and I don't know why he would talk about him."
"I know what my daughter said and it's not what was quoted," Langer said Thursday. "My daughter said he's probably not a close friend of Mr. Trump. What was the quote? He's not a friend of Mr. Trump.
"Now, what does that say? Not a close friend means he could be a friend or they had some kind of relationship. Not a friend means he doesn't like him at all. I was very disappointed with the article, the way it was written and what happened. It's not the first time and it may not be the last time, because it's out of my control."