BERNHARD LANGER only turned 60 in late August but with three wins since has already tied the record for most victories on the Champions Tour for a player in their 60’s.
Langer achieved the feat in just 63 days whilst it took his fellow record holder, Hale Irwin, a couple of years.
The German golfer has his chance to forge ahead this week – and set a host of other records – when he lines up as favourite at the season ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Phoenix Country Club.
Similar to the FedEx Cup on the main tour, the Champions Tour ends with a three event playoff series with a final limited field battle for the championship and for the bonus Charles Schwab Cup. To keep the battle for the Cup interesting (especially with Langer around) the season long points are reset before the final event.
With seven wins already this year, including unprecedented back to back wins in the first two playoff events, Langer is already way ahead in the money list.
He has already wrapped the Arnold Palmer Award, his ninth money title in 10 years in a season that has also included 13 top-3 finishes, 16 top-10s in 21 events, and a single-season record US$3,622,359 in earnings.
He is a prohibitive favorite this week to win his record fifth Charles Schwab Cup (and fourth in a row) in the season-long points race.
On the tour they are calling him “an ageless wonder” but his fellow pros are also threatening to pass the hat around and offer him “disappearance money”.
“So, yeah, I haven’t seen a big enough check, to disappear,” Langer responds.
As fellow competitor Miguel Angel Jimenez (one of those with a chance this week to spoil the Langer party, along with the likes of Scott McCarron, Kenny Perry, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kevin Sutherland, Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie) lamented this week: “He’s 60, but he still looks 30.”
“You can make it up in the short game”.
So how does the “ageless wonder” do it?
“I’m aware that not many guys win once they turn 56-57 (years old), but I’ve proven that wrong already,” said Langer, who has won 18 of his 36 titles on the 50 and over tour since turning 57.
“So now I’m trying prove it wrong that you can’t win in the 60s as well.”
Langer has always been known for his work ethic and his fitness but explained in an interview with PGATour.com how he has managed to keep his standard so high.
“I try not to put too much emphasis on the number of age, but I do feel older than 10 years ago,” he said. “You feel it. You have more aches and pains. You’re not as flexible, not quite as strong – all of that. So you have to try to make up for it in other ways.”
“Course management, better technique. You can make it up in the short game. You can be a better chipper, a better pitcher, a better bunker player. And certainly putting is the biggest key of all. If you can putt well, you can make up for a lot of mistakes.”
Apart from continuing to win tournaments and keep the prizemoney rolling in, Langer does have another ambition this year.
“One of my goals is to shoot 60 while I’m 60,” he said. “So I’ve got a few more months to work on it.”
Any who can doubt he’ll realise his goal.
It’s natural for me,” he said. “Whatever I do, I give 100 percent. That’s why I take time away from the game, so when I do come back, I feel I’m happy working at it and giving it all I have. If I don’t want to give it all, I might as well stay at home. If I’m coming out here to be on vacation or just give 60 or 80 percent . . .”
2017 Charles Schwab Cup Championship Leaderboard
2017 Charles Schwab Cup Championship Australian TV Times
Foxtel has full live coverage of the championship.
Round 1: Saturday 8am – 11am
Round 2: Sunday 8am – 12.30pm
Round 3: Monday 8am – 11am
60 CLUB: OLDEST PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS WINNERS
1. Mike Fetchick, 1985 Hilton Head Seniors Invitational: 63rd birthday
2. Jay Haas, 2016 Toshiba Classic: 62 years, 10 months, 7 days
3. Gary Player, 1998 Northville Long Island Classic: 62-9-22
4. Tom Watson, 2011 Senior PGA Championship: 61-8-25
5. J.C. Snead, 2002 Greater Baltimore Classic: 61-8-9
6. Jimmy Powell, 1996 Brickyard Crossing Championship: 61-8-5
7. Bruce Crampton, 1997 Cadillac NFL Golf Classic: 61-7-20
8. Hale Irwin, 2007 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai: 61-7-18
9. Roberto De Vincenzo, 1984 Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-Am: 61-3-2
10. Gil Morgan, 2007 Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach: 60-11-7
11. Jay Haas, 2014 Greater Hickory Kia Classic: 60-10-17
12. Bob Charles, 1996 Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic: 60-7-17
13. Bruce Summerhays, 2004 Kroger Classic: 60-6-28
14. Lee Trevino, 2000 NFL Golf Classic: 60-6-25
15. Jimmy Powell, 1995 First of America Classic: 60-6-9
16. Bob Gilder, 2011 Principal Charity Classic: 60-6-5
17. Tom Watson, 2010 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai: 60-4-20
18. Hale Irwin, 2005 SAS Championship: 60-3-29
19. George Archer, 2000 MasterCard Championship: 60-3-23
20. Dale Douglass, 1996 Bell Atlantic Classic: 60-3-20
21. Hale Irwin, 2005 Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach: 60-3-1
22. Bernhard Langer, PowerShares QQQ Championship: 60-2-3
23. Bernhard Langer, Dominion Energy Charity Classic: 60-1-26
24. Bernhard Langer, 2017 Pure Insurance Championship: 60 years, 28 days
25. Craig Stadler, 2013 Encompass Championship: 60 years, 21 days
26. Jim Colbert, 2001 SBC Senior Classic, 60 years: 2 days