Bernhard Langer admits he’s not so sure there is a secret to his longevity, but then he goes ahead and tries to explain it anyway.
“A lot of things have to come together,” said Langer, who won the TimberTech Championship on Sunday, breaking his own record as the oldest winner on the PGA Tour Champions. “You’ve got to be healthy, hungry, willing to work, have a good support system, a great caddie and good coach, many, many other things. As I said, the willingness to put in the hours, because many people when they get to 50, 60, they’re going to say, ‘Well, I’ve had a good career and I’m going to take it a little easy and all that.’ You can’t do that out here, there’s too many good players.”
Lots of good players, yes, but none of the active ones have accomplished what Langer has. The 65-year-old now has 44 career Champions victories, which is just one shy of Hale Irwin’s all-time record of 45.
Langer closed with a six-under 66 at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., which was a home game for him. He ate meals at his own place and slept there and even had some of his grandkids on site. He said it was nice to have a tournament nearby, and he took advantage of the comfortable setting.
His 17-under total was six better than Paul Goydos and Thongchai Jaidee. Goydos was in the final grouping with Langer and birdied the first hole on Sunday to tie Langer for the lead, but he double-bogeyed the 5th hole and Langer took control.
Langer said he played “cautiously aggressive” the last few holes, which meant he didn’t aim at flags and instead played to the middle of the greens. That way he puts pressure on his opponents to perform in the clutch.
As for Irwin’s record? Langer says he doesn’t think about it much, but the media never fails to remind him.
“I’m getting closer and closer,” he said. “I’m also getting older and older, so the clock is ticking and I might have another two or three years where I could win. But I’m already the oldest and I broke that record again this week, being the oldest winner out here, third time in a row now. So not sure how much longer that will continue, but I will keep trying.”