Langer motivated to end season at No. 1 before 37th Masters
October 29, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- October 29, 2020
- Bernhard Langer has a home game this week in Boca Raton. (Tracy Wilcox/Getty Images)
Despite the impressive list of rookies on PGA TOUR Champions in 2020, if they want to compete at the highest level on this Tour, they still have to go through Bernhard Langer.
And this week Langer, a five-time Charles Schwab Cup winner, returns to a place he’s owned over the last few seasons – not to mention he also gets to sleep in his own bed.
“It’s definitely one of my favorites,” said Langer at the TimberTech Championship, where he is the defending champion. “As a Tour member, you travel all year long and all your life. So it's very special when you get to stay home and work at the same time, have some home-cooked meals, sleep in your own bed, and have lots of friends and family, usually.”
The event has been part of the Champions Tour schedule since 2007, played annually in Boca Raton, Florida – where Langer is a resident. He won by five shots in 2019 and finished runner-up in 2018. Langer has five other top-10 finishes at this event in his Champions Tour career including another victory, in 2010.
Langer is second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings so far this season with steady performance after steady performance. He has 10 top-10 results in just 13 tournaments so far, including a win at the Cologuard Classic.
The 41-time Champions Tour winner says as he gets closer to wrapping up his season, he’s just as motivated to have the ‘No.1’ on his caddy’s back – even though no Charles Schwab Cup will be awarded at the end of this year.
“Well, it's always a good thing to have that little bib, the Charles Schwab bib, on your caddie's back, because that means you're out there and the others have to chase,” says Langer. “I would rather be in front than way behind.”
As far as momentum for this week is concerned, Langer says he will rely on the good memories from a year ago.
Langer’s daughter, Jackie Langer-John, caddied for her father at last year’s TimberTech Championship. It was only her third time ever caddying for him and the duo finished at 19-under, which was the tournament scoring record. It’s not like Jackie was totally inexperienced as the tournament came down to the wire, however – she was on his bag in 2018 as well, when he lost in a playoff.
“She had never won with me caddying, so that was another reason to celebrate. And in front of the home crowd, family and friends, makes it that much more special, as you say,” says Langer. “But (defending) any tournament is cool, because you are comfortable with the golf course, you know you have done well there before, and so there is no reason why not have another good week.”
But while Langer has been his consistent self so far in 2020, he’s had to compete with the highly competitive new crop on the Champions Tour.
Both Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson won their first two starts after turning 50. Ernie Els, who just turned 51 earlier this month, has won twice already this season. And Mike Weir, who turned 50 the same day as Furyk, has three top-10 finishes in just eight starts.
But Langer, whose confidence never wavered, isn’t worried about the new group of competitors.
“It happens on every tour. On the [PGA TOUR] there are young guys coming out of college. On our Tour they are turning 50. And it’s just part of life. But this year's rookie class has been exceptional,” says Langer. “They are mostly major winners, from Mickelson, Furyk, Ernie Els, Mike Weir, KJ Choi, on and on you go. They are all very established players, have phenomenal careers on the [PGA TOUR], and they are going to have -- certainly make a big impact on this tour, I would say.
“But me personally, it's great to see them out here, but it's going to be a little bit harder to win, like it is every few months when new guys come out.”
Still, Langer hasn’t seemed fazed.
He’s motivated to have a great week at home in Boca Raton before heading to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship – usually the season finale on the Champions Tour, and the site of his five Charles Schwab Cup wins – before the Masters in mid-November.
“Those three tournaments are all important to me,” says Langer. “I have worked very hard the last couple of weeks to get my game in shape and hopefully finish the season strongly.”