PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Langer's historic season continues to defy logic
World Golf Hall of Famer has won first two Schwab Cup Playoffs events and is looking for more
November 01, 2017
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- November 01, 2017
- Bernhard Langer is first in Schwab Cup points and is in prime position to win his fourth straight Schwab Cup. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
With three victories in his past four starts, including the first two events in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, Bernhard Langer has turned a very good season into his best in 10 years on PGA TOUR Champions.
He now has run his total to seven wins in just 21 starts in 2017. The math is easy enough; he was won one of every three tournaments he has entered.
It’s hard to imagine he has been better than he was a year ago. He actually had more top 10s in 2016 (18 in 21 events vs. 16 this year) and finished in the top 25 in every event vs. missing one top 25 this year. But the proof is in the winner’s circle; he won only four times last year.
Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27. It’s possible he’s now a better closer than at any point in his career. Witness what he has done the past two weeks. He won the Dominion Energy Charity Classic by one shot with a 20-foot eagle putt on the 54th hole, and he won the PowerShares QQQ Championship on the second playoff hole with a 25-foot birdie putt.
It’s true it’s still possible Langer could not win the Charles Schwab Cup. At the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the playoff format allows for any player in the top five in the points standings to win the finale and with it the coveted Schwab Cup and the $1 million bonus that goes with it.
The fact isn’t lost on Langer, who as part of the Player Advisory Council actually voted in the playoff format that now is in its second year. Without it, Langer already would have the Schwab Cup in the trunk of his rental car when he arrives in Phoenix for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
“Because I am not voting on something to be selfish, I'm voting on something what's the best for the Tour,” Langer said. “My role on the PAC is to represent everybody that's out here, all the members, all the players from whatever, the worst to the best to the middle of it, it doesn't matter. What's best for the Tour.
“I guess the last couple of years we had -- I just had great seasons and it could have been a scenario where I would have won the Schwab Cup before we even played the last tournament, and that's not the most exciting for the spectators, for TV, for the sponsors, for anybody involved. Therefore, I could see their point of making it a playoff event and have the playoff idea which the American people are used to. They have it in hockey, they have it in baseball and football and just about anywhere, basketball. The FedExCup is successful on the PGA TOUR, so we figured it was good for our Tour to follow in the footsteps and do the same thing."
Then with a laugh, Langer said, "Even though it's detrimental to myself.”
Bernhard Langer has won $3,622,359 this season.— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) October 30, 2017
That would have ranked 18th on the PGA TOUR’s 2016-17 money list. 😳 pic.twitter.com/SuJL0MsJlz
It’s a tribute to Langer that he can see the bigger picture. With or without another Schwab Cup – he can claim his fourth in a row and fifth overall in Phoenix – the German will win his ninth Arnold Palmer Award and sixth in a row as PGA TOUR Champions’ leading money winner. He also figures to win his seventh Jack Nicklaus Trophy and fourth in a row as Player of the Year and his sixth Byron Nelson Trophy and fourth in a row for lowest scoring average.
The Charles Schwab Cup Championship is moving this year from Desert Mountain Club’s Cochise Course in nearby Scottsdale to Phoenix Country Club this year. The new venue is vastly different than the old one. It’s a short, flat, tight course that really can be called old school.
Bob Gilder, 66, won the PGA TOUR's Phoenix Open twice. His pick? Let’s just say if Secretariat is available that’s where the money goes.
“Langer is pretty darn straight and he can putt,” Gilder said. “He is amazing. I would have to give it to him as far as one to keep an eye on. I’d bet on him. … He just seems to be able to focus better than a lot of people.”
A focused Langer on a course that values accuracy over length and requires imagination on approach shots.
Anyone for a Schwab Cup Playoffs sweep?
Bernhard Langer wins in a playoff at PowerShares QQQ