Newsmaker of the Year: No. 8, Bernhard Langer

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 7, 2017, 1:00 pm

Here’s a scary thought for the rest of the PGA Tour Champions: Bernhard Langer is getting … better?

Shrugging off any concerns that his legendary career was over following the anchoring ban, the ageless German won a personal-best seven events in 2017 to set his sights on the all-time senior wins record. 

Whether it’s Steve Stricker or Jerry Kelly, David Toms or Davis Love III, every year features a new crop of PGA Tour vets who are supposed to take the senior circuit by storm. And yet no one can top Langer, even at age 60.

Across 22 events he won three majors, top-tenned 16 times and banked nearly $3.68 million, making a mockery of the PGA Tour Champions’ “playoff” system in which he somehow finished second.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Of course, all of that success breeds competitive jealousy, which is how Langer found himself in the news so often in 2017.

Many predicted that the 2016 anchoring ban would lead to Langer’s demise, but the man who has overcome the putting yips wasn’t fazed by this transition, either. Using the same broomhandle putter, he moved the end slightly away from his sternum and led the senior tour in putting.

Was it hard work that kept Langer at the top of the statistics for the sixth consecutive year, or something more sinister? Players gossiped and slow-motion replays showed that Langer’s left hand was still uncomfortably close to his chest, and so Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee went on air, called the anchor-ban enforcement “appalling” and suggested that both Langer and fellow longtime anchorer Scott McCarron (who ranked second in putting) were playing fast and loose with the rules, even though both were cleared of any wrongdoing by the USGA.

The criticism stung Langer – he repeatedly defended his actions and expressed disappointment that his integrity was called into question – but, as always, he has moved forward. Now only 10 wins from surpassing Hale Irwin as the most prolific senior champion of all time, he will continue wielding the long putter better than anyone, critics be damned.

Langer's place in senior golf history

Article: Langer cruises to 10th senior major title

Article: Langer passes Nicklaus with back-to-back majors

Article: Player: Langer only equal to my senior major total


Langer's loss prompts Schwab questions

Article: Langer fails to win Schwab Cup despite seven-win season

Langer: Champions playoffs weren't meant to be fair

Shackelford on Langer’s playoff loss: ‘That’s ridiculous!’


Early-year anchoring controversy

Article: Langer: Jealousy plays a role in anchoring criticism

 

Chamblee calls anchor ban enforcement 'appalling'

 

Langer, McCarron, USGA respond to Chamblee criticism


Continued putting prowess

Chamblee: 'Langer is putting better than anybody ever has'

 

Langer re-enacts putt to win PowerShares QQQ title

 


Better than he's ever been?

Video: Chamblee: 'Langer is better than he was 10 years ago'


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.