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Bernhard Langer 'getting closer' to thinking about retirement, but not stopping now

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At 65 years old, Bernhard Langer is still better than most people at golf. But the one thing he can't defeat is father time. 

The German is arguably the most successful player in PGA Tour Champions history. Langer has won a record 11 senior majors. His 43 senior tour victories are the second-most all-time, two behind Hale Irwin. And he's won six Schwab Cup titles and finished first on the money list 11 times. 

In 2022, Langer had a sub-par season for his standards, but he's still content with his play.

"It's been a solid year," Langer said Thursday ahead of the TimberTech Championship. "Not quite as good as the last 12 or 13 (years), but they were exceptionally good. Sooner or later there were going to be some young guys coming through and taking over, but I had a good year. I won a tournament and had a bunch of good finishes, still knocking on the door on a number of occasions. I think right now I'm seventh in the Schwab Cup standings, so I don't have a chance to win the Schwab Cup, which is disappointing in a way, but still had a solid and good season."

Full-field scores from the Toto Japan Classic

Of the six players ahead of him in the season-long Schwab Cup standings, with only two events left this season, Miguel Angel Jiménez, 58, is the oldest of the bunch — by three years. 

Even though Langer continues to defy his age on the golf course, the inevitable looms: How much longer will he tee it up competitively? 

Alker could nab Schwab Cup title a week early

Along with a win, there's a slew of scenarios this week that could hand Alker the Schwab Cup before the senior tour's season finale.

"I'm getting closer to that where I'm thinking about (retirement)," he said. "So far, I really haven't thought about it much. I always said if I feel good, if I'm healthy, I enjoy what I'm doing and I'm somewhat successful, I'll continue. All these three things are still in place, so there's no reason to stop at this point in time. Hopefully, I know when to quit and I don't go way beyond."

Every year, however, new challenges emerge. 

"It's a little bit of everything," he said when asked about his challenges. "The body starts to ache here and there and different parts of the body, it's not always the same. Then just being away from family and friends is tough. I've been doing this 50 years now, because I turned pro when I was 15, so 50 years traveling and being away and all over the place, it takes its toll. I've learned to manage I think my time where I just play a little bit less and spend more time with family, with kids and now grandkids."

Though everyone must eventually shelve their clubs for good, Langer still hits it exquisitely and most importantly, he still enjoys playing. He'll ride that wave for as long as possible. 

"This tour is just incredible," he said. "We play some great courses in really neat spots. My game is not bad, it's pretty solid tee to green. All depends if I can make a few putts or not."