Bernhard Langer: Like a Fine Wine
Posted by: mike July 31st, 2017
By Bob Oliver
It has been said that wine gets better with age.
Okay. But some wines just don’t make the cut, no matter how old or experienced they are.
Professional golfers are the same way. They can be smarter, know the game better, have an uncanny ability to get into the hole from anywhere. But at some point, even those fine players lose some of their skills or desire.
Then there is Bernhard Langer. Like those fine wines that get better with age, Langer just several weeks shy of his 60th birthday has shown little indication that he’s ready to hang up his spikes.
The man’s game is money. Heck, it’s golden.
Langer showed once again that he’s not ready for the rocking chair at the Senior British Open at Royal Porthcrawl, where his 69-74-65-72—280 was four-under-par and three shots better than runner-up Corey Pavin.
It was not easy. He was masterful in his moving day 65, but in difficult conditions during the final round he struggled at times and clearly didn’t have his best swing. Still, he had what it took to claim his 10th Senior Major Championship.
“It wasn’t pretty out there, but I got the job done,” said the winner of 33 PGA Tour Champions events since turning 50. “I made some great up and downs today after missing a lot of greens. I made a number of saving putts.”
Langer joined Jack Nicklaus as the only player to claim three senior majors in a single year.
On a day that saw “typical” British Isles weather – a little sun, a little rain, a lot of wind and some of each coming within seconds of each other – Langer continued his uncanny dominance of the senior set.
Since 2010 the man has been incredible in the majors, scoring a cumulative 281 strokes under par. That number is 147 strokes better than anyone else. Amazing.
And he does it in magical ways, as he is not the longest off the tee and at times lets a few shots get away. Still, it would be nitpicking to say he strikes a couple wayward shots because they are normally followed by stone stiff chips and putts.
His putting, criticized by some because of the use of the long-putter, legally without anchoring, has been consistent and has bailed him out of many jams.
At Royal Porthcawl the elements resulted in several scores in the 90s on Friday, as the winds and rains played havoc with shots. Langer plodded along to a 74. The German closed out his third Senior Open Championship with a final hole birdie and increased his lead on the money list.
Now the question that must be asked. Can he possibly catch Hale Irwin’s record of 45 PGA Tour Champions victories?
Time and history say no. Guys in their 60s just don’t win a lot, as the young guys with glowing resumes come onto the tour each year.
But, like that fine wine that gets better with age, it’s not a given that Langer won’t be winning regularly over the next several years. It’s a bit ask, but don’t count him out.
Bob Oliver is a frequent contributor to the Golf Insider’s blog, a veteran Golf Writers of America member and former president of the International Network of Golf. Bob is Chief Columnist at www.golfbuckscounty.com