Age is but a number for Bernhard Langer who keeps on extending his career wins and increasing his bank balance to boot.
Langer’s latest win on the PGA Champions Tour arrived with a typically clinical close-out birdie on the 18th green in the Chubb Classic in Tiburon, Florida, on Sunday which gave him a 43rd victory on the seniors circuit and moved him to within two of the career record held by Hale Iwrin.
En route to this latest win, Langer had shot his age - 64 - in the opening round; and it extended his sequence of winning every season on the Champions Tour to a remarkable 16.
After this latest win, Langer recalled how it took a gentle nudge as a teenager to actually get him moving into thoughts of a life as a tour player rather than as a teacher.
He explained: “I really didn’t know what to expect when I first turned pro. I was a teaching pro for three and a half years and trying to help other people by giving them lessons and helping them improve their game. While I was doing that, I was also practicing myself. My head pro was in charge of me, he said, ‘Do you want to make a living teaching or playing golf?’ I really hadn’t thought much about it, but I was able to win the German Championship when I was 17 years ol.
“So, I figured, ‘I would love to try playing golf for a living’. But I didn’t have any money and I didn’t know if I was any good compared to players from overseas. There were no Germans on the tour. I was the first full-time pro that played tournament golf, so I had no one to compare myself with. Anyway, we know the rest. It all turned out for the better. I didn’t have to go back for teaching and, almost 50 years later, I am still here.”
New Irish Open
The Horizon Irish Open has been added to the expanded schedule for the upcoming G4D (Golf for the Disabled) Tour, which will feature seven tournaments and, with the commitment of the DP World Tour, also incorporates a package of financial, commercial and media support for the European Disabled Golf Association.
Of the seven tournaments, two of them will take place in Ireland: at the Irish Open in Mount Juliet on July 27th-28th and at the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle on August 8th-9th. The other events on the new schedule place at The Belfry and Wentworth in England, at Green Eagle Golf Club in Germany, Valderrama in Spain and the season’s finale in Dubai.
Dundalk golfer Brendan Lawlor, currently ranked number two in the world rankings, claimed last season’s G4D Tour title.
Word of Mouth
"I want to compete with the best players in the world. I want to be number one, one day" - Joaquin Niemann setting the bar high after securing his second PGA Tour win in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. Niemann's victory moved him from 32nd to 20th in the updated world rankings and earned the Chilean a payday of $2,160,000.
By the Numbers: 7
After his close call in the Cape Town Open where he finished third, Tom McKibbin will seek to bring that momentum with him to this week’s Challenge Tour stop in Durban where he is one of seven Irish players in the field. Robin Dawson, Cormac Sharvin, Niall Kearney, Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and John Murphy are also competing.
In the Bag
Joaquin Niemann, Genesis Invitational
Driver: Ping G410LST (10.5 degrees)
3-wood: Ping G425 Max (14.5 degrees)
5-wood: Ping G425 Max (20.5 degrees)
Irons: Ping iBlade (4-9)
Wedges: Ping Glide 3.0 (46 degrees), Ping Glide Forged Pro (52, 56 and 60 degrees)
Putter: Ping PLD Anser
Ball: Titleist pro V1x
"Little gutted about SGL rumours suggesting it's falling apart. I was down to be a scoreboard carrier at their first event" - Eddie Pepperell.
"There has been zero rumors of me jumping ship to go play the Saudi League but felt like this is as good of a time as ever to announce that I'll be staying on the @PGATOUR #notinvited #playbetter" - Harry Higgs going nowhere.
"Five 3 putts to finish off my Cape Town Open followed by a 4hr delay on @British_Airways, nice to see I'm not the only one doing my job properly" - South African golfer Neil Schietekat (who finished tied-sixth despite the horrors with putter in hand) on his day getting worse.
On this day: 22nd February 2004
Mike Weir made hard work of successfully defending the Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club, where the Canadian - who’d carried a five stroke lead into the final round, and who had increased the margin to seven through three holes - shot a closing 71 for a total of 17-under-par 267, just one shot clear of Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama.
After establishing a clear lead through 54-holes, John Daly remarked of Weir: “Is he paying the same course that we are?”
In the final round, played in torrential rain, Weir came back to the pack and ultimately had to produce a wonderful up-and-down on the 72nd hole to save par and retain the trophy which he’d won in a play-off the previous year. Maruyama’s miracle fightback came up short with a bogey on the finishing hole.
“It was important I was able to dig deep when Shigeki was making a charge,” said Weir, adding: “It’s probably better for me down the road to win this way.”
Know the Rules
In matchplay, a player moves a leaf lying close to his ball in a penalty area and in doing so causes his ball to move. What is the ruling?
If the removal of a loose impediment causes the ball to move, the ball must be replaced on its original spot. In this instance, as the moved ball was not on the putting green or in the teeing area, the player gets a one stroke penalty (Rule 15.1).