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Langer needs Harding Park win to win Schwab Cup

Bernhard Langer
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SAN FRANCISCO – Bernhard Langer knows what he needs to do at TPC Harding Park to win the Charles Schwab Cup season points title and $1 million annuity.

And it isn't going to be easy.

Kenny Perry enters the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a 612-point lead over Langer.

Langer, who lost to Perry in a playoff Sunday in San Antonio in the AT&T Championship, not only needs the 880 points that go to the tournament winner, he needs Perry to finish sixth or worse.

Langer said he would focus on his game and not worry about anything else. It's hard enough, he says, to think through his own approach.

''It's exciting to come into this event having an opportunity, slim as it might be, to win the Charles Schwab Cup,'' Langer said. ''It's a yearlong competition and it just proves you've had a great year, first of all by being here in the top 30.''

Langer has been one of the most consistent players on the tour this season, winning two titles and holding the lead at some point in eight others.

Perry has won three events, and held the lead at some point in three others.

''I can't control what other people do, I can only play the best I can,'' Langer said. ''That's my goal - play as good as Bernhard Langer can play each and every shot.''

Langer remains optimistic because of the success he has enjoyed thus far.

''I started off better than any other year,'' he said. ''I continued to play great golf through the whole year. I never really had a low point. I've been in contention probably more than ever and had opportunities to win maybe win five, six, seven times this season. It's been an interesting year.''

The 56-year-old German won the Masters in 1985 and 1993 and became golf's first official No. 1 ranked player when the system was devised in 1986. Langer has 18 career Champions Tour titles and 82 top-10 finishes in 124 career starts.

''Whether I am better now than I was, I really don't know,'' Langer said. ''I just know I've had a lot of solid years and had a lot of fun out here.''

Perry won 14 PGA Tour title and has five Champions Tour victories, including two majors this season.

''It's been a great summer to win the two majors and finally break through on that deal,'' Perry said. ''Now I'm trying to win this thing. To me it would be the ultimate accomplishment to win the Charles Schwab Cup, the season-ending trophy we all shoot for come January.''

According to Perry, he has 28 other blockers. Should he finish out of the top five, having someone other than Langer win means the trophy belongs to him.

''I've got a lot of things going my way,'' Perry said. ''If I get another player to get hot and win the tournament, then they win the Cup for as well. I'll be looking and paying attention but I also need to step my game up too and I need to figure out a way to the top five this week.''

Australian Steve Elkington, who won the 1995 PGA Championship, was the final qualifier from the money list, finishing 30th with $501,332.