At Desert Mountain, Scottsdale on Sunday Billy Andrade beat Bernhard Langer at the first play off hole to win the Charles Schwab championship. But it was Langer who won the season ending Charles Schwab Cup and the Champions Tour money list for the fourth straight year and a record 7th time in the 8 years he has played on the senior tour. In the end he beat Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert convincingly.
I must admit that watching the Champions Tour events nearly always provokes a reaction from me. Again it was Billy Andrade which did it. “How on earth can Billy Andrade be playing on the seniors?” To me it was yesterday that I was watching him play Walker Cup at Sunningdale, dancing around his playing partner Jay Siegel with the exuberance of youth. And now he is the same age that Siegel was then. It’s a tough reminder that time doesn’t stand still when people you remember playing on the main tour suddenly slip onto the seniors tour and you see them again, often with grey hair and pot bellies. But it’s also wonderful to see them again, not least because they do play a different game on the Champions Tour. The shotmaking skills, the variety of swings and ball flights, it’s from the type of golf I grew up with which is less apparent with the new generation.
But Langer still looks like a supreme athlete who has dominated the Champions Tour since he has been competing on it. But even he, I still look and see the curly haired blond German with the dodgy tache who climbed up a tree at the Benson and Hedges Championship one year and played his ball from where it had landed in the branches. And I remember how pitifully he had the yips. It was so painful to watch when he suffered from them. But not only is Langer a great athlete he is mentally strong enough to overcome these and still continues to have his stellar career. He’s still hanging on to his long putter I see, unlike Ernie Els who has given his up and gone back to conventional length. Interesting to see how Baron Langer will compete without his next year.