Ageless wonder Bernhard Langer ready to tackle KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

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TULSA, Oklahoma – Phil Mickelson won universal golf acclaim for his ‘victory for the ages,’ capturing the PGA Championship at age 50, but golf’s true ageless wonder, Bernhard Langer, could only smile when asked what he thought about Mickelson’s feat at more than a decade his senior.

“I’m happy for him, of course, but I’m smiling because I’ve been saying for 12 years somebody from the senior tour would win a major championship. It was just a matter of time before it would happen and I’m thrilled it finally did.”

Langer certainly counts himself among a group of contenders for the second senior major of the year, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, at historic Southern Hill Country Club, which begins Thursday at the site of past U.S Opens and PGA Championships. It will also host the 2022 PGA Championship.

The 72-hole tournament, with a total purse of $3.5 million, includes names Langer battled regularly on the PGA Tour: Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, John Daly and Vijay Singh. Langer is happy to renew the battle.

“I still love the game of golf,” he said. “I love to compete and when I don’t, it’s time to leave, but that time has not come yet. I still feel very competitive with these guys and I look forward to the week.”

Name an age-related record for professional golfers 50 and older and its likely Langer either owns it or is rapidly closing in:

  • Most years in a row with a win on PGA Champions Tour

  • Senior tour career grand slam

  • Most senior money won

  • Oldest player to make 36-hole cut at Masters Tournament

All Langer.

In the category of most pro wins ever for a golfer 50-and-older, Langer only trails Hale Irwin—by four—but as he likes to say, it’s probably only a matter of time.

Langer works harder and smarter to get ready for his week at the Senior PGA in Southern Hills. He arrived at the club at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, pulling into his assigned spot, 1-A, after getting his traditional eight hours of sleep in a nearby hotel.

“I was never a smoker or a drinker or a partier,” he said. “Other guys would be out to 2 a.m., and then have an 8 a.m. tee time. I always make sure and get plenty of sleep before I play.”

After a 10-hole practice round, his second of the week after a Tuesday pro-am, he had a light lunch, then he spent time in the fitness trailer stretching and working through his full range of motion.

“I’m maybe 5 pounds heavier now (163) than when I won the 1993 Masters,” he noted.

How long is too long keep playing? Consider that his mom is 97 and is still active. He asked Masters Chairman Fred Ridley the very same question before the 2020 Masters.

“He said that as long as we can stand upright and play golf, we are welcome to play,” Langer said.

Which means golf’s true ageless wonder will keep on going.