ST. JAMES, Barbados (AP) – Schedule conflicts and other issues had kept Bernhard Langer from the last 10 World Cups, and nearly prevented him from playing this year, too.

He has four children, some of whom had holiday events and school functions this past week that Langer wound up missing.

“I’m not proud of that,” Langer said.

He will, however, take pride in delivering the World Cup to Germany for the second time.

Trailing by five strokes entering the final round Sunday, Langer and Marcel Siem shot a 5-under 66 in the alternate-shot format to grab a share of the lead, then the two-time Masters winner made a short par putt on the first playoff hole to beat Scotland for Germany’s first World Cup victory since 1990.

“Every trophy’s special, as you can guess,” said Langer, who teamed with his 16-year-old son, Stefan, to win the Del Webb Father/Son Challenge last week in Orlando, Fla. “The last two years, I didn’t win a lot of trophies, to be honest. It’s nice to be on a little roll.”

Langer’s winning putt came moments after Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie pushed his par try from about 4 feet wide of the hole.

Sweden (72) was third at 15 under, missing the playoff when Carl Petterson’s tricky downhill par putt from 5 feet lipped out at the final hole.

South Africa (68) was fourth at 14 under, while Spain (69), Argentina (73) and the United States (69) tied for fifth at 13 under. The U.S. team of Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry ended their day with 11 straight pars, playing solidly but never really making a big run at the leaders.

“We had a great week,” Cink said. “At least we know we could have won.”

Defending champion Wales was in a four-way tie for eighth at 11 under with Australia, Mexico and Italy in the 24-nation field. Germany had six birdies and one bogey on a soggy, windy day at Sandy Lane, where play was interrupted early for nearly two hours by morning rain. The Germans – who split a $1.4 million first prize – were three strokes off the lead during that break, yet found a way to pass six teams over their final 12 holes.

“It’s just unbelievable,” said Siem, 26, an European Tour player. “I love it. It’s such a great feeling.”

“An early Christmas,” Langer said.

Montgomerie, the eight-time Ryder Cup player who helped Europe to a dominating win this year at The K Club, teamed with Marc Warren to shoot a 2-under 69. Scotland, which has never won the World Cup, and now has four second-place finishes, made only one bogey all day, and that was the one in the playoff. Montgomerie pushed his tee shot at the par-3 18th left of the green, then missed the short putt after Warren played a chip to relatively close range.

“It’s just one of those things,” Warren said. “Tough putt. … We needed to leave ourselves an easier putt. That’s just the way it goes.”

Argentina, Scotland, Sweden and Germany all held the outright lead at some point Sunday, yet never managed to build a significant cushion – and the top positions on the leaderboard flip-flopped all day.

Scotland went up at the par-3 11th, when Warren got his tee shot within 10 feet and Montgomerie made the putt to put his team at 16 under, one shot clear of Germany and Argentina.

But the Scots strung together seven straight pars from there, and things soon were knotted again. Siem’s 25-foot birdie at the par-3 16th gave the Germans their first lead, which they immediately gave back with a bogey, their lone mistake, at the par-4 17th.

And Sweden used consecutive birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 to match the Germans and Scots at 16 under, then faltered at the final hole.

“It’s always disappointing when you finish like that when you’re in the hunt,” Petterson said. “We had a chance and we had a good time.”

Not as good as Langer, of course.

He turns 50 next year and is already eyeing a spot on the Champions Tour, but still seems more than capable of competing at the highest level. And it’s not like his family didn’t share in this win: 16-year-old Stefan, who teamed with his father for the win last week in Orlando, was his caddie this week.

“It’s not easy to believe, 16 years later or whatever it is, to still be in the winners’ circle with another young man,” Langer said. “It just shows that the golf ball doesn’t know how old you are.”

AP-ES-12-10-06 1713EST

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