PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Is Langer having the best season ever?
With seven events remaining, the German star already has four wins and surpassed $2 million
August 31, 2016
By Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM
- August 31, 2016
- Bernhard Langer is coming off a playoff victory at the Boeing Classic entering this week's Shaw Charity Classic. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
Is Bernhard Langer, at age 59, headed for his best season ever on the PGA TOUR Champions?
Langer continues to churn out the victories. His 29th career win came at the Boeing Classic and matched Lee Trevino for second place on the all-time list. Hale Irwin leads with 45.
It was the fourth win of 2016 for Langer, a haul that includes two more major titles at the Regions Tradition and Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
He goes for No. 30 this week at the Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary.
Langer has had five-win seasons twice in his PGA TOUR Champions career – 2010 and 2014 – since his full-time arrival in 2008. This season is his third with four victories.
With seven events left and considering the exceptional standard and consistency at which he is playing, it’s not difficult to imagine Langer surpassing his career high five victories and money totals ($3.07 million in 2014). Langer has now gone over $2 million in earnings for the eighth time in his nine years, missing only when an injury limited him to 14 events in 2011.
There is so much that goes into Langer’s golf game, much more than just the physical. He’s a student of the game and knows his game so well. He proved it again at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge when, in the middle of a final round that wasn’t going so well, he made a critical adjustment. It turned the game around and he won in a playoff against Kevin Sutherland and Woody Austin.
On PGA TOUR Champions, nobody knows better what is required to win and how to get there.
“It gets harder as you get older because these young guys hit it past me,” Langer said. “I played with Grant Waite. On 18 he hits it and goes like, 'What bunkers?' He flew everything. The guy's so strong and long it's just a different game.
“It will get harder. I'm going to get shorter sooner or later and some of these younger guys hit it past me, but it's more than length. You need to be precise and have the nerve and play the course the way it needs to be played. There's still a bit of life left in me.”
Langer was 1 over through nine holes in Sunday’s final round, tied for 14th and seriously treading water. Then it clicked. Ironically, a wayward drive on the eighth hole set him straight.
“I realized what I was doing wrong and I was getting underneath instead of covering the ball,” he said. “So from the ninth hole on, I was covering the ball and started hitting really good shots, gave myself great opportunities. Hit it pretty close a number of times.”
Langer shot 30 on the back for 67 and then made birdie on the first extra hole to win the playoff.
“I call him a robot,” Austin said. “He's pretty much the same every (time) and he just doesn't make too many mistakes.”
Bernhard Langer wins in 3-way playoff at the Boeing Classic
It’s Langer’s stock-in-trade. He’s meticulous in how he approaches and plays the game. It is what continues to produce magnificent and relentless golf. He’s made a believer out of Father Time.
In 2015, Langer won a second straight Charles Schwab Cup, and became the first player to win the Charles Schwab Cup three times in his career. In the season finale at Desert Mountain, his runner-up finish – Langer lost a playoff to Billy Andrade – enabled him to overtake Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.
Langer also won the Byron Nelson Award for the second straight year, and fourth overall, with a scoring average of 68.69. Langer is well on his way to adding another this year. His scoring average through 47 rounds is 68.77.
His dominance on PGA TOUR Champions is reflected in the statistics. He is ranked No. 1 in seven categories and out of the top 10 in only one.
Langer will make his second appearance this week at Shaw Charity Classic, now in its fourth year. He tied for 24th in 2014.
Here are the remaining events on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule, with Langer’s best finish in each:
Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach: 8th (2013)
Pacific Links Championship at Bear Mountain Resort, B.C.: New location
Toshiba Classic: P1 (2008)
SAS Championship: 1 (2012)
PowerShares QQQ Championship at Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, Ca.: New playoff event
Dominion Charity Classic at The Country Club of Virginia, Richmond: New playoff event
Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain (Cochise), Scottsdale: T2, 2013; P2, 2015