Langer Keeps Swinging in the Rain for 11th Senior Major
EVEN a five-and-a-half hour rain delay couldn’t dampen the spirits of the remarkable Bernhard Langer as he won the Senior Open at Royal Lytham for a record fourth time. And it wasn’t the only record he broke. It was his 11th senior major, his 41st victory since turning 50 and he became the oldest man to win. He is now approaching his 62nd birthday but his swing has barely changed since he first emerged on the European Tour all those years ago.
Some other things haven’t changed - he was nearly put on the clock at the 12th and 13th holes as his group lost ground on the players ahead of them. But Langer simply shrugged his shoulders and got on with the job. And when he got his nose in front he was never going to be caught.
“It's always special to walk down 18 in a major, but especially over here in the UK,” he said. “The people are so knowledgeable about golf, and it's tremendous how they even came out in these conditions and cheered us on in the rain. It feels very special, whether it's The Open or The Senior Open, to walk down 18 is always a wonderful feeling.
“Now having won 11 Senior Majors, it means a great deal. Nobody has won more than nine if I'm correct, not even the great Jack Nicklaus or Gary Player or Tom Watson who retired from this championship today. There's a lot of great players who have played this game and have played Majors, and I've been blessed to have won more than any of them.”
Despite the incessant rain, Langer played quite beautifully, taking control with with back-to-back birdies on the inward nine. He carded a four under par 66 to turn a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory from 2016 champion Paul Broadhurst.
The final round will also be remembered as Tom Watson’s farewell to competitive links golf. The five-time Open champion and three-time Senior Open winner announced after his third round that he would be bowing out at the conclusion of this, his 18th his Senior Open appearance.
“The crowds on the 18th were very warm and appreciative,” Watson said. “The crowd that ended at the ninth hole, which was the farthest point on the golf course, that went all the way out there to watch my final hole, that was very, very special. There will be other people who will take the reins and they will do what I did. Life is full of passages, and I've passed through my career here, starting in 1975 to here in 2019. It's amazing.
“I'll always respect the way the game is played over here. The game of golf is played here with a passion, unequalled, and it's part of the fabric of life that people have when they play golf here in the U.K. That's what I've always appreciated.”
The American never missed a cut in The Senior Open and remains one of only three men—along with Gary Player and Bob Charles—to win both The Open and The Senior Open. He bows out being considered by many to be the greatest links golfer of all time.
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