Among the major sports in America, one could argue – actually, I am going to argue – that no athlete has been more dominant in his game over the last decade than Bernhard Langer.
Yes, Bernhard Langer.
He is going to be the PGA Tour Champions’ leading money winner for the ninth time in 10 years; six times in that span, he has been the tour’s player of the year.
We will give you additional Langer numbers later, but, at the moment, let’s leave you with one:
Sixty – that’s Langer’s age.
Now, the senior tour is for those 50-and-older, and generally fiftysomethings dominate against sexagenarians and septuagenarians. In fact, there is a common saying among seniors: “A 60-year-old Champions Tour golfer is like a 30-year-old runway model – too old to turn heads.”
Note: Truth be told, this is not a common saying – I just made it up.
Either way, that sensibility is so 20th century.
For these days, 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50 and, I’d imagine, 70 is the new 60. One day – because of evolution, better nutrition and medical breakthroughs – 120 might be the new 90.
It’s a senior world, my friends. The rest of us just live by the laws they make.
Seven of the current nine Supreme Court justices are over 60, including a 79-year-old, 81-year-old and 84-year-old.
The president is 71.
Meanwhile, Betty White, 95, just appeared in the HBO documentary, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” hosted by Carl Reiner, 95.
Tamae Watanabe, 73, a Japanese mountain climber, scaled Mount Everest for a second time in 2012.
Mohr Keet, 96, bungee-jumped from South Africa’s Western Cape in 2010 – a 708-foot drop.
Harriette Thompson, at 92, became the oldest woman to complete a marathon in 2015, finishing a San Diego event in 7 hours 24 minutes 36 seconds, then at 94 became the oldest ever to finish a half-marathon in June.
Kirk Douglas, 100, has lived through two world wars, The Great Depression, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
So Langer ought to be able to make his second decade of senior golf nearly as successful as his first; 60’s not a barrier for him, it’s just a turnstile.
Besides, he loves quoting Lee Trevino, “The golf ball doesn’t know how old you are.”
(If I may interject here, experientially: The golf ball might not know how old you are, but the back, the knees and the prostate do.)
Langer has had a remarkable golf life, through his 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Several times he overcame a case of the putting yips. He had them as a teenager, yet managed to win the Masters in 1985 at age 27.
He won the Masters again in 1993, several years after another bout of the yips in which he prayed to God for guidance.
(If I may interject again here, experientially: I hate to complain, but I pray to God just for a favorable tax return and he turns a deaf ear.)
After turning 50 in 2006, Langer has been a senior supreme, winning 10 majors among his 33 Champions Tour titles, second only to Hale Irwin’s 45. In 203 career events on the Champions Tour, Langer has finished in the top three 82 times and in the top 10 145 times.
And he’s not letting up – he’s the only three-time winner on the tour in 2017.
Langer even made a political splash earlier this year when President Trump mentioned him in regard to alleged voter fraud. The president said that Langer was turned away on Election Day at his polling place while others who appeared to be “undocumented” voters from foreign lands were allowed to stay in line.
The story, of course, was false – Langer, a German native and German citizen who lives in Boca Raton, Florida, is ineligible to vote in the U.S.
But Langer is so good, I believe he could blast out of a 13th-hole bunker at Augusta National and land the shot within 25 feet of a polling booth in South Florida.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Most NFL players have signature moves after they make a big play – what is your signature move after you write a killer sentence? (Dave Sander; Indianapolis)
A. I roll over to the other side of the bed to reach for the Fritos.
Q. Are you aware that chess grandmaster Anton Kovalyov just forfeited a match at the FIDE World Cup because they claimed it was a dress-code violation that he didn’t want to wear regular trousers? (Sandy Lyons; Port Arthur, Tex.)
A. He gets no sympathy here: Shorts are for checkers, long pants are for chess. Duh.
Q. If we did away with college football, what would Americans do on Saturday? (Michael Kolb; Spokane)
A. I already go to Costco for Saturday brunch – well, “samples” of Saturday brunch.
Q. To speed up the game, MLB this season introduced the pre-ordered intentional walk. To speed it up even further, can the Orioles’ Chris Davis preemptively announce that he’ll be taking a called third strike? (Dylan Ris; Los Angeles)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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