IT MAY not quite be up there with his two Masters wins, but Bernhard Langer’s utter dominance of the Senior Open Championship last week must rank alongside just about any of his other performances.
His score of 18 under par was the lowest in Senior Open history, while his winning margin of 13 shots not only obliterated the previous best at the tournament but was also the second best at any Major ever. For a 56-year-old, that’s incredible.
Langer only seems to have improved with age. His swing is certainly better than when he was on the main tour. Then the German had a funny hold; now it’s magnificent.
This win cements his status as the best player of the last few years on either of the seniors’ tours, Langer having won the Champions Tour money list five times in six years. His display may also make people take senior golf more seriously, as it highlights the standard being played in these competitions.
It has got people talking about whether Langer could even play on Europe’s Ryder Cup team in September for the first time since 2002. By the same token you could also make that argument for Colin Montgomerie, who has won two senior Majors this year and was second to Langer on Sunday in Wales.
As a vice-captain this year, it is not up to me, but those performances will not have gone unnoticed by skipper Paul McGinley, as he gets closer to finalising his line-up.
There are five tournaments left in which players can win points to book their place in the side, starting with this weekend’s high-quality WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell has done well to revive his hopes in recent weeks and England’s Luke Donald just needs to finish the job, while Lee Westwood could do with picking up. The American team situation is also interesting, with the men most hopeful for a good display this week being Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, neither of whom are on course to qualify for an automatic place in Tom Watson’s team.
Finally, congratulations to England’s David Horsey for a great win at the Russian Open on Sunday and commiserations to Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who missed out on the play-off by one shot.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer, a European vice-captain for this year’s competition, and a media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam