Bernhard Langer returns to Carnoustie, the scene of his first Senior Major Championship victory, in July with his sights trained on becoming only the third player in history to win the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex three times.
The remarkable German, who continues to defy his 58 years with the same control and precision that he displayed on the regular Tour, would join two of the all-time greats, Gary Player and Tom Watson, on three victories apiece if he succeeds in mastering the challenging Carnoustie layout.
Langer, who struck a blow for the over-50s at the recent Masters Tournament at Augusta National by playing in the penultimate group on Sunday, captured his first Senior Open crown at Carnoustie in 2010, edging American Corey Pavin into second place.
He then recorded a wire-to-wire win at Royal Porthcawl in 2014, and returns to Carnoustie as a strong contender for that third title from July 21-24.
Now in his fifth decade as a professional, Langer is one of more than 30 Major Champions who will tee up at Carnoustie, host venue for The Open in 2018. And the desire to win more Senior Majors burns as brightly as ever.
He said: “I never won The Open, although I came close on a number of occasions to lifting the Claret Jug. The Senior Open is the next best thing and it was great to win it on two previous occasions.
“I had my hands full with Corey Pavin six years ago but fortunately I played smart golf and it was a big win for me. I beat a lot of great champions – a lot of legends – on a very tough championship course.”
Carnoustie traditionally lives up to its reputation as a fearsome test and Langer appreciates the need to play golf of the highest calibre in order to add a third Senior Open to the US Senior Open which he won just seven days after triumphing on the Angus links in 2010.
Langer added: “It’s a classic links course – very testing in tough conditions. There is always some kind of wind blowing and it’s one of the toughest finishes anywhere in the game of golf. You just never know what is going to happen over that stretch.”
The ten-time Ryder Cup player and winning European captain in 2004, who has been a dominant force on the US Champions Tour since turning 50, admits he still loves competing and learning about the game.
“I’ve been very blessed to have done a number of great things,” he said. “My goals haven’t changed. It is always to try to get better, to improve my technique. If I can do that, I should have more chance to win more events, more Senior Majors and the money list. There is plenty to compete for, and I love competing in the Majors, too.”
Tom Watson, who won his first Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1975, will also be in the world class field of legends alongside Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara, Miguel Angel Jiménez and a group of ambitious 50 year old ‘rookies’.
Jean Van de Velde, who memorably lost out to Paul Lawrie in The Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999, is one of a number of newcomers who will be making their debuts alongside the all-star cast of Major Champions and other legendary figures in the game.
John Daly, who won The Open at St Andrews in 1995, joins the ranks of senior players later this week while Todd Hamilton, the 2004 Open Champion, celebrated his 50th birthday late last year and is now a regular on the US Champions Tour.
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