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Langer Setting New Standards for Senior Golf
Bernhard Langer's record-breaking romp in the Senior Open Championship in Wales was an eye-opener. At a tough, windswept Royal Porthcawl course that saw only five players break par after 72 holes, the 56-year-old German's 18-under-par total of 266 was nothing short of incredible.
Langer took the lead with an opening 6-under 65 and never looked back, posting rounds of 66, 67 and 68 for the runaway wire-to-wire victory. His 67 on Sunday was the low round of the day.
The European Tour's website listed the following records broken by Langer's superb performance:
• His 13-stroke winning margin is the largest in the history of the Senior Open, beating the previous record of seven by Bob Charles in 1989.
• His 13-stroke winning margin is the largest in the history of senior major championship golf. This beats the previous record of 12 set by Hale Irwin at the 1997 Senior PGA.
• His 13-stroke winning margin is the second largest in major championship history, regular or senior. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 in 2000 and Old Tom Morris won the Open Championship by 13 in 1862.
• His 13-stroke winning margin is the largest in European Senior Tour history, beating the previous record of 11 by Boonchu Ruangkit at the 2010 Chang Thailand Senior Masters in 2010.
• His 13-stroke winning margin is the largest victory margin in European Senior Tour history for a 72-hole event, breaking the previous best of 10 by Seiji Ebihara at the 2002 De Vere PGA Seniors Championship.
• His 13-stroke winning margin is the second largest on the three major men's tours. The largest is 15 by Tiger Woods (2000 U.S. Open), and Ernie Els won by 13 at the 2005 BMW Asian Open.
• His 13-stroke victory is the second-largest of his career. He won the 1979 Cacharel Under-25 Championship by 17.
• His 18-under par total is the lowest winning total in relation to par ever in the Senior Open Championship.
• His 54-hole total of 199 matched the lowest in European Senior Tour history for a 72-hole event, equaling Giuseppe Cali at the 2006 PGA Seniors Championship.
• His eight-shot, 54-hole lead is the largest in European Senior Tour history for a 72-hole event, beating the six of Noboru Sugai in the 2002 Senior Open.
• His seven-shot 36-hole lead is the largest in Senior Open Championship history.
• His 65 equals the best start by a winner in Senior Open Championship history.
• His 6-under par equals the lowest first round to par in Senior Open Championship history.
• His 11-under par total for the opening 36 holes equals the lowest in Senior Open Championship history.
• His 14-under total for the first 54 holes equals the lowest in Senior Open Championship history.
• He's the third player to win the Senior Open Championship with all four rounds in the 60s.
• He's the sixth player to win the Senior Open Championship with all four rounds under par.
• He's the first player to win the Senior Open Championship in wire-to-wire fashion, twice. Langer also won the title in 2010 at Carnoustie.
The victory at Royal Porthcawl was his fourth title and second major of the year (he won the Senior Players in late June), and his 22nd win on the Champions Tour. He's 250 points ahead of Scotland's Colin Montgomerie in the Charles Schwab Cup points' race, while Jay Haas in third is nearly 2,000 points behind Langer.
Are there any questions about the greatest contemporary over-50 player in the world? You won't get any from Montgomerie, who finished in second place, 13 strokes behind Langer on Sunday.
When asked about any accolades that may be coming to him, Monty - a two-time major champion this year on the Champions Tour, quipped, "Potentially if Bernhard doesn't enter any tournaments. He's amazing, isn't he? He's clinical, he's methodical, he's ambassadorial, he's diplomatic. He's everything. He's an asset to any tour."
Here's what Langer had to say about his record-breaking performance following the just-completed Senior Open Championship.
BERNHARD LANGER: Just very blessed to be able to play such good golf and really enjoy the 18 holes today because there wasn't too much pressure. Still had to obviously hit some decent shots and make some putts, but got off to a great start, and you know, increased my lead and it was a real pleasure to be playing the last 10, 12 holes.
Q. Do you have to pinch yourself with the magnitude of the victory? I know you've won, say, the Irish Open, by ten strokes but this is quite something.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, this is very unusual. I've won tournaments by 17, the World Championship under 25 years, but just doesn't happen, not with the competition you're facing. And certainly not in a major usually where the best from around the globe are playing in the championship. So it's been an amazing week for me.
Q. And one of those people you've beaten is Colin Montgomerie second place, good friend but nice to see him beneath you.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, he's already had his run this year. He's won two majors and so we're battling it out for the Schwab Cup over in America and the Money List, so it will be a good race for the rest of the year.
Q. Makes up for last year?
BERNHARD LANGER: Certainly, it was a tough one last year, but when you put yourself in a position to win, you're going to win some, you're going to lose some. I've had both ends of the spectrum.
Q. Presumably you'll get a little chance to take this in to digest and celebrate.
BERNHARD LANGER: A little bit, not a whole lot. We are going to be flying to America tomorrow morning already and off to the next tournament. So that's the life of a professional, not a whole lot of time to celebrate but we'll take away some great memories here from Porthcawl and Wales, just a wonderful week that we had here.
Q. And one particular thing to look forward to, as well, you're in the Open Championship for next season.
BERNHARD LANGER: Definitely. That's going to be a great highlight, and you know, another chance at The Open Championship and especially at St. Andrews, there's no greater place to play golf than there.
Q. You missed an eagle on 18.
BERNHARD LANGER: I missed three eagles on 18. I had three great chances and, yeah, just couldn't convert the putts. But today it didn't matter any more, whether you win by 13 or 14, really, it didn't matter. So it was very enjoyable sort of last, 12, 14 holes today.
Q. You could have dropped a lot of shots and no one was going to catch you. What was the secret this week?
BERNHARD LANGER: The secret was driving the ball well. I think I drove it extremely straight and far, hit a lot of fairways, and from there, you can attack and make birdies, and that's what I did. I stayed out of the fairway bunkers, really all week. I don't think I drove one tee shot into a fairway bunker, and that was another key. And then my long putting was extremely good. I had tremendous touch from long distance. I mean, yesterday I 2 putted one from 37 yards away going three tiers up the hill. It's a putt you never practice. So it was all about feel and I had great touch.
Q. Does the margin by which you have won this week surprise you?
BERNHARD LANGER: A little bit, yes, but because you normally don't - you have to play great golf to win anywhere around the world nowadays. It's just so much competition and I know I played great golf, but I'm still a little bit surprised that I won by that many. But it just shows how tough the golf course is. There were only a handful of guys under par, and you know, you've had a lot of great competitors competing this week.
Q. There's talk of an Open possibly coming here. You've played it in championship conditions. Now do you think that the course is good enough for that?
BERNHARD LANGER: The course is definitely good for an Open Championship. I think it's a great test, especially when the wind blows a little bit. The question is just, you know, is the surrounding stuff good enough for an Open Championship. But I'm sure they can work it out.
Q. And Colin Montgomerie also said your form, should see you go into The Ryder Cup Team; what would you say about that?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, you know, we've been talking about that for a number of years now because I've been playing some really good golf the last six or seven years. But I'm not sure I'm on the radar screen of Paul McGinley or - Colin didn't invite me, he was the Ryder Cup captain. (Laughter.) And neither did Woosie. So, anyways, it's up to the captain. I have no chance to qualify obviously because none of the tournaments where I play count, except the Masters. But it's a long shot. But you know, I certainly feel my golf is worthy of playing in The Ryder Cup.
Q. I'm sure McGinley has been watching, so if he was to call, you'd obviously go?
BERNHARD LANGER: Most likely I would go, yeah, certainly. He's going to be a great captain, so I wish him all the best.
Q. A chance in the open; you're not going to go to St. Andrews just to make up the numbers.
BERNHARD LANGER: No, I don't go anywhere just to make up the numbers. I might as well stay home and have a week off. I like to compete obviously and give it myself. St. Andrews is a little bit more wide open golf course and it suits some of the long hitters. That's why John Daly has won there twice, I believe - once. There will be some long hitters having some advantage there, but if I play the kind of golf that I'm capable of playing, I still think I can be in contention.
Q. And you finished second in '84, didn't you?
BERNHARD LANGER: I did.
Q. Do you know what you're doing the weekend of the Ryder Cup, 28th, 29th of September?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, we have a tournament at Pebble Beach, and it's also the Mercedes Benz World Final where they would like me to appear in Stuttgart. Don't know where I'm going to be yet.
Q. Having been a captain yourself, do you think it would be not unfair but difficult for a captain to pick someone who has not been part of the qualifying process?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, could well be difficult. I don't know. I never thought about that. But the captain has the freedom to choose never he wants, and whoever he thinks is most suited to compete in The Ryder Cup and on that type of golf course wherever they play. So it would be unusual, that's for sure. I don't know if it was ever done on either side of the pond.
Q. Raymond Floyd I think -
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I believe he was.
Q. You'll be confident you can play four times, if you were picked, twice on one day and one on another day?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I'm fit enough to play whatever is necessary.
Q. Five times?
BERNHARD LANGER: If you can't play - if you can't get yourself up to play in the Ryder Cup to represent your country and your flag, you'd better not play golf. That's my answer to that, okay.
Q. Were you aware of setting records today?
BERNHARD LANGER: No. I don't play golf to set records. If it happens, it's great. If not, it doesn't really matter. I play to win and I play to have fun.
Q. When was the last time -
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, it's been a while I guess. Felt sorry for the guy he couldn't jump over the fence, and I didn't want to interfere with the chip shot.
Q. That's 2 2, you and Monty, in the majors this year. Is it the Charles Schwab Cup decides the winner?
BERNHARD LANGER: The Charles Schwab is the big prize at the end of the season that everyone wants to win. I'm sure if he has that on his goal list, and it's one of my goals, as well, like everybody that plays on The Champions Tour over in America, so we'll see what happens the rest of the year.
Q. Do you know how many points you are ahead?
BERNHARD LANGER: No. I don't even know the prize money.
Q. When was the last time you played as well as this, do you think?
BERNHARD LANGER: Don't know. I've had some really good tournaments and spells. When I won in 2010, I won this tournament and I went to America and I won the U.S. Senior Open over there, back to back on a very difficult golf course, and that might have been some of my best golf. I won that by four shots or something over Fred Couples. And Fred Couples comes from Seattle; we played in Seattle. It was like a Ryder Cup Match, you know. There were 50,000 or 80,000 people and they were all cheering for him. There were maybe three cheering for me (Laughter.) So you can imagine what that was like. But I've had some very good weeks in between. I mean, I've won 22 tournaments now in the Senior Tour in six and a half years or whatever, so you have to play some exceptional golf to win.
Q. I don't know if you heard what Colin said, but he went on and on and on about you, what an extraordinary performance it was. He said the word remarkable three times in the same sentence and said it was one of the greatest performances.
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I agree to some extent because it's difficult to win by one or two shot, it's difficult, and is to win by 13, it's a lot. So, what can I say? We all have certain weeks and certain days when just everything goes great and we're so called in the zone and everything is wonderful and you can shoot course records and break other records. But to do it four days in a row and to lead from the front, to win it from the front is not easily done. You know, one time I 3 putted today from nowhere, and that was just a lapse of concentration. I was thinking about all sorts of garbage because I had a 13 shot lead and it didn't really matter. So it's not easy.
Q. You knuckled down after that.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, then I got ticked off at myself to three putt from about 20 feet. Come on, let's focus again.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.