Almost 22 years after Colorado product Hale Irwin first set record for career PGA Tour Champions wins, Bernhard Langer ties his mark
By Gary Baines – 2/19/2023
Hale Irwin outright held the record for most PGA Tour Champions career victories for 8,008 days. But on Sunday, he had to make room on top for Bernhard Langer.
Irwin, the World Golf Hall of Famer who grew up in Boulder and won an NCAA individual title at the University of Colorado, now shares the record for Champions wins at 45 as Langer moved into a tie with his fifth victory in the Chubb Classic in Naples, Fla.
A winner of three U.S. Opens who’s been inducted into both the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame, set the record for Champions wins when he prevailed at the Siebel Classic in San Jose, Calif., on March 18, 2001. That was senior victory No. 30, which surpassed the total of previous record holder Lee Trevino.
Bernhard Langer celebrates sinking a long birdie putt on the 17th hole Sunday.
Irwin would go on to win 15 more times on PGA Tour Champions, No. 45 coming in January 2007 at age 61 — at the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai. At that time, he had 16 more Champions triumphs than the man at No. 2 on the career list, Trevino. Langer didn’t even tee it up at his first Champions event until September 2007.
But the German, with whom Irwin famously battled in a crucial singles match during the “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup in 1991, has caught Irwin thanks to stellar play well into his 60s. Indeed, Sunday marked Langer’s 12th victory since turning 60. For comparison, Irwin earned three wins as a 60-something.
“It’s been a very special week and a great day for me,” Langer said on Sunday.
“There’s been a lot of talk about catching Hale for the last few years. There’s a lot of pressure, especially today when you get this close. You have thoughts running through your mind: ‘When you’re this close you don’t want to lose it now.’ That’s the wrong stuff to think. You’ve got to focus on one shot at a time.”
Irwin won his 45th PGA Tour Champions title in his 273rd senior start. Langer notched No. 45 in his 318th senior event. Langer set yet another standard as the oldest winner of a PGA Tour Champions event at 65 years, 5 months and 23 days.
Langer was all smiles after winning at age 65 1/2.
Irwin, who last competed in an official Champions event in early 2021, has now played in 481 official Champions tournaments in his career.
“When I (first) heard Hale Irwin had won 45 times, (I thought) ‘This is awesome and amazing’ — and it still is, and always will be. Hale, if you’re watching, congratulations. You’re a great champion and I’m honored to have tied your record. We need to toast with a glass of champagne or something. But I’m thrilled to have gotten to the number 45.”
At the Chubb Classic this week, Langer went 64-70-65 for a 17-under-par total and a three-stroke victory that came not far from his Florida home.
Meanwhile on Sunday, former Aspen resident Justin Leonard finished sixth, a career best on the senior circuit for the 50-year-old. It’s his second top-10 of the 2023 season.
For all the scores from the Chubb Classic, CLICK HERE.