DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Hard to believe a guy, who’s coming off one of the most statistically impressive seasons in the history of the game, would consider making equipment changes. But on Thursday, at the back of the range at Seagate Country Club, that’s exactly what Bernhard Langer was doing.
Langer played in 21 Champions Tour events in 2014. He won five, finished in the top 3 in 12, and inside the top 10 in 18. He finished T-8 at the Masters, as well. He made $3.07 million and led the Champions Tour in every statistical category that matters: birdie average (5.06), scoring average (68.03) and greens in regulation (78.35 percent). And yet, after taking a few weeks off, he was busy working with his equipment manufacturers overhauling his bag and ball for the 2015 season.
“People wonder why Martin Kaymer changed his swing,” said Langer. “Why Tiger Woods changed his swing. But that’s what we do. We’re all just trying to get better.”
On Wednesday, Langer met with Titleist reps to discuss his golf ball. He’s down to the last few dozen of the 2009 Pro V1, so he’s working on which version of the Pro V1 that he’ll use next. And on Thursday, he was working with three reps from TaylorMade and Adams to discuss his irons and driver.
“The main focus right now is his irons,” said George Willett, the TaylorMade rep for the Champions Tour. “We’re working on a prototype off a set he has used for a number of years. He has basically worn out the set he has now.”
This was the first opportunity since TaylorMade and Adams merged in Carlsbad to meet with Langer. Reps are working off existing files brought over from Adams’ former headquarters in Plano, Texas, and in an exclusive set of Langer prototypes, they’ve added the groove design from the TaylorMade TPMB product line.
“The results and feedback were extremely positive,” said Chris Trott, tour director of Adams Golf. “But obviously there is a long way to go before these irons make it into his bag.”
In addition, Trott and Willett made up a set of TaylorMade RSi TP irons, which they had to double bend some of the hosels in order to create the look he likes. Langer also tested the new Adams TightLies fairway woods and the TaylorMade R15 driver.
“Again, early feedback was good,” said Trott. “I would have TrackMan screen shots, but unfortunately the radar system’s batteries can’t outlast his work ethic.”
As onlookers marveled at the 57-year-old's tempo, his attention to detail and the results of such a productive season, this reporter recited some of his stats.
“And it could’ve been better,” said Willett. “He gave a few tournaments away coming down the stretch.”
“Well,” I said, “he IS human.”
To which Willett replied: “Is he?”