BOCA RATON — There’s not supposed to be homefield advantage in golf. Try telling that to Bernhard Langer.
The Boca Raton resident won the TimberTech Championship on Sunday, marking the third time he has won his hometown event in 15 tries.
Not even shifting the tournament from Broken Sound to Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club while the Old Course is being renovated could stop Langer’s local dominance.
The biggest impact? Langer’s daily commute to work was 25 minutes instead of 10.
Not much else changed, Langer lifting the trophy in front of family and friends for his 44th career victory on the PGA Tour Champions.
And it wasn’t close.
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Langer fired a final-round 66 to pull away for a six-shot victory over Paul Goydos and Thongchai Jaidee at 17-under 199. Langer was 1-over after 15 holes Friday, but played his last 39 holes in 20-under. That’s better than a birdie for every other hole.
“I wish we had 10 tournaments around here,” Langer said with a smile. “That’s probably not going to happen.”
Sunday’s win means for the rest of his career, every time Langer tees it up on the PGA Tour Champions, he will have a chance to make history.
Langer’s next win will tie Hale Irwin’s once-thought untouchable record of 45 career titles on the 50-and-older circuit. The one after that will break the record, and more wins after that will make Langer’s mark seem untouchable.
You’re not supposed to be winning tournaments at 65. Try telling that to Langer, too.
“I’m getting closer and closer, but I’m also getting older and older,” Langer said. “The clock is ticking. I may have another two or three years where I could win. I’m not sure how much longer that will continue, but I will keep trying.”
Langer broke his own record for being the oldest champion on a major tour. Age is just another number for Langer. He bettered his age by two shots in Saturday’s second round for the sixth time in his career.
People often ask what’s the secret to Langer’s success. There’s no secret – he just outworks his peers.
Langer was one of the few players who had played Royal Palm before this week, but those were corporate outings, not tournament conditions.
He struggled on Royal Palm’s greens in the first round, like most of the players. So he arrived at the course hours before his second-round tee time to try a new putter that eventually allowed him to take only 21 putts while shooting the 63.
Langer’s career is remarkable. He turned pro earlier than most, at age 15, and he’s still winning tournaments later than anyone. Fifty years is the minimum age to join the PGA Tour, not usually the length of someone’s career.
Langer has won $1.74 million in hometown tournament
They should eventually re-name this tournament the Bernhard Langer Invitational. Then again, he already owns it inside the ropes.
Consider: In his 15 starts at the TimberTech Championship, he has finished in the top three in more than half his starts (eight). The $350,000 first prize he pocketed Sunday pushes his earnings at his hometown event to – get this — $1.744 million.
That’s a career for most folks.
He isn’t ready to call it a career, either.
“I always said if I feel good, if I’m healthy, if I enjoy what I’m doing and somewhat successful, I’ll continue,” Langer said. “There’s no reason to stop. Hopefully, I know when to quit and I don’t go way beyond.”
Even then, he can always play in his hometown event. And probably win it.
“It’s always awesome to win anywhere in the world, but to win in your hometown in front of family, friends is that much more meaningful and special,” Langer said.
And, for Langer, quite often.