Langer, Inverness gearing up for U.S. Senior OpenWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced in 2007 that the 2011 U.S. Senior Open would return to Inverness, it probably registered as little more than a blip on most people’s radar.
But July 28-31, 2011, is a date that the folks at the USGA and Inverness have been looking forward to.
“It’s been seven years since the Senior Open Championship has been here at Inverness, and we are excited to be back,” said Thomas O’Toole, vice president of the USGA Executive Committee. “We are looking to make this a very successful U.S. Senior Open Championship for the Inverness Club and the City of Toledo.”
O’Toole and several members of the USGA, along with last year’s champion Bernhard Langer, were in Toledo on May 16 to begin the final preparations for the 32nd U.S. Senior Open.
Despite the rainy and cool conditions outside, brass inside the clubhouse were beaming about what will occur at the historic Inverness Club.
“The philosophy of the USGA is that the Senior Open should be the toughest physical and mental test that our Champions tour members will play in each year,” O’Toole said. “This title is the most coveted in senior golf, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our partnership with the Inverness.”
No one knows about the test the Open provides every year quite like Langer.
The German golfer won both the Senior British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland and the Senior Open in Sahalee, which is near Seattle.
“It was very taxing last season,” Langer said of pulling off the rare feat of back-to-back major wins in consecutive weeks. “It is a very difficult stretch, especially when you factor in the regular British Open is played the week prior to the Senior British as well. Some of us are playing in three consecutive major tournaments.
“I was very fortunate and blessed to be at the top of my game, to be able to win the Senior Open last year.”
Defending that title will prove to be just as difficult once again this season. Langer is fighting his way back from a torn thumb ligament, which has sidelined him for the start of the golf season.
Langer sustained the injury while riding his bicycle. The incident occurred when Langer pressed the button at a crosswalk to change the traffic light.
“People thought I had really hurt myself, but I must’ve just pressed the button wrong or something,” he said. “I hope to be back playing in a few weeks and by the time we come to Inverness, I hope to be playing at full strength.”
The back-to-back majors will also be a challenge once again as the Senior British Open will be played the week prior to this year’s U.S. Senior Open.
“I am one of those guys that isn’t extremely happy that we have to play back-to-back majors,” Langer said. “When you think about the guys on the regular tour who don’t play in back-to-back majors, but nonetheless it is a challenge that we have to deal with and face this year.”
Langer is no stranger to success. He won the Masters in 1985 and 1993 and he has played for the European Ryder Cup team 10 times.
He said he will use those experiences to deal with the challenging schedule again this season.
“With my Ryder Cup experience and some of the other experiences I have had in my career, I am going to use those to prepare for the challenges I will face again this year.”
Langer said he is looking forward to the challenge Inverness will provide him and other competitors.
“I am going to spend the little time we have studying and looking at the course to get familiar with it,” he said. He played at Inverness in 1993 during the PGA Championship. “This is going to be a tough course and I am going to do the best I can be ready for it.”