Give leading seniors ticket to the majors, says Langer
Thursday 23 July 2009
Bernhard Langer has called on golf's governing bodies to allow more veterans into the field at major championships. Langer was the leading player on the Champions Tour in the US last year, but has not been exempt from Open Championship qualifying for several years.
Tom Watson's performance at last week's Open at the age of 59, along with that of Greg Norman a year earlier at Royal Birkdale, has forced the R&A to consider upping the exempt age for former winners back to 65 from 60, which it was lowered to two years ago. But Langer says leading players on the Champions Tour and European Senior Tour should also be given exempt status. Speaking at Sunningdale ahead of this week's Senior Open, he said: "I'm not saying it's bad to have them play until 65. But I personally think it would be good to include maybe the top two or three on the money list from our tour. I don't think people realise how high the level of play is on the Senior Tour and the Champions Tour. It is really difficult to win out there.
"We are actually very surprised that there are no world ranking points on our tour. You take Tom Watson and Greg Norman, they both came very close, finished second and third in one of the majors. The weird thing is we don't get much opportunity to play in major championships. I haven't been exempt in the British Open for five or six years now. I think it would be a good move to either give us some world ranking points so we can qualify for some of the events, or maybe invite two or three of the top-ranked players on the tour.
"It wouldn't be a bad thing to have a Watson, Norman, Mark O'Meara, in your tournament. It's not like you're inviting players that have no history – they are legends, some of the greatest guys that ever swung the club."
Golden oldies: Who's on show
Mark James, 55 Second most successful Englishman (18 wins) in European tour history.
Greg Norman, 54 Two-time Open champion (1986, '93), finished second at all other majors.
Sir Nick Faldo, 52 World No 1 for 97 weeks, three-time winner at Masters and the Open.
Bernhard Langer, 51 Winning captain at 2004 Ryder Cup.
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