With his win Sunday at the Senior PGA Championship, Bernhard Langer captured his ninth career senior major title and broke a tie with Jack Nicklaus for the most over-50 majors of any player. But don't expect Gary Player to agree with that assessment anytime soon.
In an interview with Golf Digest, Player disputed the current tally of senior major titles and offered his view that Langer's ninth and most recent title may have passed Nicklaus, but it only drew Langer equal to him.
The root of the argument is Player's three wins at the Senior Open Championship, all of which came before the tournament was designated as an official PGA Tour Champions major in 2003.
"Remember the Open Championship itself wasn't made official by the PGA Tour until 1995, which meant it didn't count on the victory totals of Snead, Hogan, Palmer, NIcklaus and myself all that time," Player said. "Imagine the oldest golf tournament, played on links courses that are the greatest test of skill and mind, with the most representative international field, not being recognized. It tells you something. And to similarly not recognize the Senior Open Championship as a major for many years is not fair."
The Senior Open Championship began in 1987 and was never won by Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer. Other champs before it became an official major besides Player include Bob Charles and Christy O'Connor, Jr.
Player is currently credited with six senior majors: three Senior PGA titles to go alongside U.S. Senior Open wins in 1987 and 1988, as well as the 1987 Senior Players' Championship. He believes his Senior Open Championship wins in 1988, 1990 and 1997 give him nine senior majors, equal to his major haul on the PGA Tour.
"My nine majors and career Grand Slam on the senior tour outrank my nine majors and career Grand Slam on the regular tour," Player said.
Langer's win gave him a victory in each of the five majors currently recognized by the PGA Tour Champions, and Player claims an over-50 Grand Slam despite the fact that he never won the Regions Tradition in 19 career appearances.
According to Player, the Tradition - which Nicklaus won four times and which was recognized as a major from its inception in 1989 - should not count as a major but is instead a "very nice tournament."