PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Champions Tour today announced Bernhard Langer as the 2014 Champions Tour Player of the Year. Langer, from Germany and now residing in Boca Raton, Fla., receives the Jack Nicklaus Award after recording five victories this year, including two major championships. Langer is the first player to win the Jack Nicklaus Award four times, also claiming the trophy in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Langer also captured the season-long Charles Schwab Cup for the second time in his career, having won the trophy in 2010. The Charles Schwab Cup is a points-based competition which recognizes the Champions Tour’s most consistent player. Langer became the second player in history, following Hale Irwin in 2002, to clinch the Charles Schwab Cup before the final event of the season, earning an insurmountable lead after the AT&T Championship the week preceding the season-finale. He led the standings all but one week and joins Irwin, Tom Watson, Jay Haas, Loren Roberts and Tom Lehman as multiple winners of the Schwab Cup.
“I’m thrilled to be voted by my peers as the Player of the Year,” said Langer, who won the vote over seven other nominees, Michael Allen, Fred Couples, Jay Haas, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Pernice, Jr, Kenny Perry and Kirk Triplett. “Winning the Jack Nicklaus Award is a very satisfying accomplishment; a very meaningful achievement, especially with so many exceptional players on the Champions Tour. I figured I had a pretty strong case in the voting, but you never know until it’s actually announced.”
“Bernhard had an amazing year,” said Champions Tour President Mike Stevens. “He won five tournaments, claimed the Charles Schwab Cup for a second time, set a multitude of new Champions Tour records and performed with incredible consistency, all the while displaying great sportsmanship and discipline. Bernhard is a fine example of a true champion.”
Langer took the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings following his win at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and maintained that lead for 13 events. Colin Montgomerie moved 23 points ahead with his win at the U.S. Senior Open. Langer reclaimed the lead at the next event (by 259 points over Montgomerie) with his win at the Senior Open Championship and never relinquished it. At the start of the AT&T Championship Langer needed to finish 833 points ahead of Montgomerie at the close of play to clinch the Charles Schwab Cup which he did by finishing T6 in San Antonio to earn an insurmountable 845-point lead.
Halfway through the season, Langer expressed what it would take to win the Charles Schwab Cup.
“You’re not going to win it just winning a major or two and you’re not going to win it just having five or ten top‑10s,” he said. “It’s got to take a lot of good golf throughout the whole season.”
Langer was the only player to finish among the top 10 in all five major championships on the Champions Tour this season. Along with wins at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS and the Senior Open Championship, Langer was T9 at the Regions Tradition, T3 at the Senior PGA and T9 at the U.S. Senior Open. Langer posted 18 top-10 finishes in 21 starts, which included a streak of 20 consecutive top 10 finishes dating back to the 2013 U.S. Senior Open (T14) and ended at the 2014 Encompass Championship (T20). Further testament to his remarkable consistency during the season was his No. 1 ranking in Greens In Regulation with an all-time record 78.35%.
“It’s one of the goals all of us have when we start the season,” said Langer after winning the Charles Schwab Cup. “Everybody wants to win the Charles Schwab Cup because it means you were the most consistent or the best player.”
Here’s a recap of Langer’s five victories this season;
Used a run of five straight birdies over the last six holes to pull away from a crowded leaderboard and win the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
Held off Fred Couples by a stroke to win his third Insperity Invitational to become the first three-time winner of the Insperity Invitational and, for the first time in his Champions Tour career, win the same tournament three times.
Sank a five-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole to defeat Jeff Sluman and win the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. His win earned him a berth in the 2015 THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Recorded an all-time Champions Tour record 13-stroke victory over Colin Montgomerie at the Senior Open Championship. He posted a championship record score in relation to par of 18-under 266, and with his win, earned a spot in the 144th Open Championship in 2015 at St. Andrews.
Posted his fifth victory of the season with a one-stroke win over Woody Austin and Mark O’Meara at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, playing the event bogey-free and winning his 23rd career title on the Champions Tour, tying Bob Charles for fifth place on the all-time career victory list.
Bernhard Langer won the Arnold Palmer Award as the Champions Tour’s leading money winner for a record sixth time. Langer also won the award in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. The Boca Raton, Fla. resident surpassed $3 million during the season for the first time in his Champions Tour career, earning $3,074,189 in 21 starts and setting the All-Time Record for earnings in a single season. The previous record was held by Hale Irwin who won $3,028,304 in 2002.
Bernhard Langer claimed the Byron Nelson Award as the Champions Tour scoring leader. With a 68.03 scoring average for the year, Langer recorded the second-best scoring average in Champions Tour history, bettered only by Fred Couples with a 67.96 scoring average in 2010. It marks the third time Langer has won this award. He also claimed it in 2008 and 2009. Langer’s low round of the year was 9-under 63 in the third round of the 3M Championship at TPC Twin Cities and his high round was 6-over 77 in the final round of the U.S. Senior Open Championship at Oak Tree National.
Source: PGA TOUR