Langer is not planning on ending his career anytime soon
The German earlier this month became the most successful player in PGA Tour Champions history when he triumphed at the U.S. Senior Open, securing his 46th over-50s title and 12th Senior Major Championship.
In doing so, Bernhard Langer also became the oldest winner ever on PGA Tour Champions and he has no plans to retire anytime soon, with this week’s Senior Open providing another opportunity to make more history as he looks to secure a third victory at Royal Porthcawl, after his triumphs in 2014 and 2017.
Famous names in the field
There are a plethora of Major Champions, Ryder Cup Captains and proven DP World Tour and PGA TOUR winners on show in South Wales this week, including defending champion Darren Clarke who last year became only the fourth man to win both The Open and The Senior Open.
Fellow Open Champion Pádraig Harrington, who won back-to-back Claret Jugs in 2007 and 2008, will bid to join Clarke, Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson in that illustrious circle of winners, as will Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year.
The Welsh charge will be led by 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, as well 2021 Senior Open winner Stephen Dodd, who won his maiden Senior Major on Sunningdale’s Old Course and Bradley Dredge who is this week making his Legends Tour debut after turning 50 earlier this month.
The most recent Legends Tour Order of Merit winner, James Kingston, and the reigning Charles Schwab Cup Money champion Steven Alker will also tee it up on the Welsh coastline this week.
Some quotes of the players
Bernhard Langer: “Experience is important, and you know, we have different experiences. I probably have far more experience than most guys that are playing in the field. The reason being is I turned pro when I was 15 and I’ve been playing on tour since I was 18, so I’ve been playing a lot more tournaments than most of these guys even though they are similar age.
“Secondly, if you win tournaments, it breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning, so it helps to have good experiences, positive experiences. If you’ve been a playing pro for 25, 30 years and you’ve just been kind of mediocre, it’s hard to believe that you can win, I imagine, because you have not won anything yet or not a lot.
“That’s why I believe Tiger Woods was so dominant as well. He was used to winning and expected to win every time he teed it up and it made winning easier because that’s basically all he ever did to a large percentage. While you play 50 or 100 tournaments, and you don’t ever win or you’re not in the heat, all of a sudden you get in the heat and on the leaderboard, then it becomes like, oh, what’s going on and you know so it’s hard to cope with that I think. Some do it better than others but that’s just one part.
“I’m 66 in a couple of weeks. I’ve made millions of golf swings. I haven’t changed my swing. So I don’t need to practice and I’ve already done that swing hundreds of thousands of times. Does that make sense? When I was younger, I was still developing, one month working on this, one month working on that. Always changing, always evolving, and even though to you it would look the same.
“The time isn’t right yet. The goal is to win a few more. If I enjoy what I’m doing and still healthy, I’ll keep going. Right now I still feel well and feel like I can compete and if that’s the case, I’ll keep going and whenever the time is right, I hope I will know it and not bore you with an 82 or 84 and that kind of stuff.”
Pádraig Harrington: “The wetter the golf course, the better, but not the wetter conditions we play. If it rains for the week, rain and wind nullifies my driver because you don’t want to get going sideways. You’d be trying to knock it down all the time. If the rain dries up and the course stays soft, and it’s digging in and staying short into the next set of bunkers, that would play into my hands but I didn’t go out on the golf course and think, this is the golf course for me. I’ve turned up at Champions tour events, and gone, this is an ideal course, and if I don’t give myself a great chance of winning, I’m failing here this week. This is a great links golf course. Ball flight, ball shape, the direction you’re hitting, spin rates are all very important in terms of getting out there. It’s not necessarily raw speed that’s going to do the job.
“I was very happy with the game up through three rounds last week, and you know, then I started working on a few things so I’m with where I’m at. I’m looking forward to getting on the golf course and I could do with a few more putts and all professional golfers say that. I’m waiting to get out there and play. It is an interesting course. There’s a staggering of bunkers everywhere, so it’s not — I don’t necessarily go to a golf course and go, this is the one for me, that I can carry all of the trouble. The trouble is staggered nicely, so you’ve just got to play good golf this week. It doesn’t set up as a huge advantage to me, this golf course.”
Darren Clarke: “I’m looking forward to it. The last time played here at Royal Porthcawl was 1988 in the European Team Championships for Ireland, so I’ve sort of forgotten how wonderful the golf course is.
“I think I said last year whenever I did manage to win it, as soon as I turned 50 my goal and my dream was to win the Senior Open, the British Senior Open after winning the main Open, and I was able to change that last year. That being said, I’d dearly love to defend this week. When you walk into Royal Portrush, there’s a display cap there up on the right-hand side and both my replica Claret Jug and replica Senior Claret Jug are sitting side by side.”
Ian Woosnam: “It’s always great to have a major tournament in Wales. We’ve had the Ryder Cup here a couple of times. It’s a great spot. Let’s hope the rain does go over a little bit.
“Depends where the wind is blowing from. If it’s blowing off the sea it’s very difficult, and especially when you play like the second, third, fourth, they are tricky holes but it’s a lovely area. It’s right on the sea as you can see, and it’s a beautiful part of the world.
“I don’t play much golf these days. It’s more of a challenge getting around walking than playing golf but I’ll try my best and see what I can do.”