Langer set to draw on happy memories of Wales at Senior Open Championship
Two-time Major Champion Bernhard Langer will be hoping to draw on the happy memories of his first victory on the European Tour when he returns to Wales for The 2014 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
It was at St Pierre Golf Club in Chepstow in 1980 that Langer made his big career breakthrough by winning the Dunlop Masters for the first of an unbelievable 42 European Tour titles, which includes two precious Masters Green Jackets at Augusta National.
Now, 34 years on from his five stroke victory over Brian Barnes – and with Sir Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Lee Trevino in his wake – Langer returns to Welsh soil in search of a second Senior Open Championship, when he takes on the classic Royal Porthcawl links where he finished runner-up to Des Smyth in the 1981 Welsh Classic.
Langer, who remains impressively consistent and a serial winner at the age of 56, recalled: “I’ve not played a lot of golf in Wales over the years, but I have a pretty decent record from the times I did play. Certainly, I have really good memories of St Pierre where I won my first official Tour title and also came second on another occasion.
“I also played in two of the three Welsh Classics which were held at Royal Porthcawl in the early eighties. Unfortunately, it was so long ago and I have played so many courses since then that it’s hard to remember too much of the lay-out, other than it was a great links.”
Langer joins a stellar cast of Major Champions when he tees up at Royal Porthcawl on July, with US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Lyle and Ian Woosnam and many others confirmed along with Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, rookie Miguel Angel Jiménez and defending champion Mark Wiebe.
Already this season Langer has been in top form, winning twice to lift his title haul to 20 on the US Champions Tour, where he is currently Number One on the money list. He is also committed to capturing another Senior Open crown to add to the one he claimed at Carnoustie in 2010, and to make up for what, he feels, was “one that got away” last year at Royal Birkdale.
He continued: “Yes, I really feel I should have put that one away. It was a great week for the most part, and I played some of my best golf over one of the hardest courses on the rotation. I always felt in control of my game but then on Sunday we had a bunch of rain delays which disrupted my rhythm somewhat.
“Having said that, I had a two shot lead on the last tee and if you gave me 100 chances from that same position, I reckon I would put it away 98 or 99 times. I should have just made a par or bogey and lifted the trophy, but as it turned out I hit a poor second and got a bad break and from that point on I lost the play-off, which can happen. It was a disappointing end to a terrific week.”
Langer, who this year racks up 40 years as a professional golfer, admits that 2014 has been “one of my best ever starts” and he is looking forward to crossing swords again with old adversaries Montgomerie and colourful Spaniard Jiménez, who makes his Senior Open debut just months after becoming the first 50 year old to win on the European Tour.
He added: “Miguel is certainly one of the best over-50s in the world and he followed a great finish in the Masters by winning on the Champions Tour in Atlanta the very next week. He’s going to be a tough competitor for all of us in Senior golf for a number of years.
“Miguel and Monty are two very consistent competitors with great experience and good technique. Their golf game travels well wherever they go. They compete and can be in the hunt for the title. You don’t have to be young to play well. Your technique can actually become better as you get older. You maybe lose a bit of distance and flexibility and strength as you get older but you can hopefully make up with better technique and more knowledge about the game and what you are capable of achieving.”
Discounted advance ticket prices – currently £25 for a Day Ticket and £70 for a week-long Season - will end on June 30, after which time normal gate prices will apply for the first Senior Major Championship to be held on Welsh soil.
Hospitality packages for the four official days of championship play are selling out fast. Friday is already sold out and Sunday is filling up quickly so act now to purchase an outstanding day out at Royal Porthcawl, for just £99 plus VAT.
The Senior Open Hospitality package will be located within the tented village which is located close to the 18th green and includes admission ticket, parking, breakfast, two-course lunch with wine, programme and draw sheet and guaranteed seat in the 18th green grandstand.
Tickets for The 2014 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl can be bought online via www.senioropengolf.com or by calling +44 (0)800 0232557, with details of the hospitality packages also available.