Germany’s Bernhard Langer will hope to continue the recent spate of European success in America when he seeks back-to-back Senior Major Championship victories in this week’s US Senior Open.
The 2004 Ryder Cup Captain leads a contingent of six European Senior Tour Members at Sahalee Country Club in Seattle, after becoming the first continental European winner of The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard last week.
Langer, who has won ten times in America on the US Champions Tour since turning 50, finished one stroke clear of US Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin at Carnoustie and will head to Washington State brimming with confidence.
With Graeme McDowell having already captured the US Open at Pebble Beach – one of six European victories this season on the US PGA Tour, plus Langer’s two on the US Champions Tour – the German will start as one of the favourites to reproduce that success in the Senior version of the championship.
“Obviously I will take some good confidence and form over there but it’s going to be tough to get over the jetlag,” said the 52 year old. “There’s an eight hour time difference and it’s a very tough golf course so we’ll have to see.
“It won’t be easy to win back-to-back Senior Majors but I will give it my best shot. There are guys who weren’t at Carnoustie like Fred Couples and Nick Price who might be there without jetlag so they will have an advantage but you never know. I’ll have the confidence with me.
“I played the US PGA Championship there a few years ago and it is very narrow. It’s a phenomenal golf course.”
After battling it out with Pavin in the final group at Carnoustie on Sunday, Langer will play alongside the United States Ryder Cup Captain again for the first two rounds.
Pavin made his debut in a Senior Major last week and is hopeful of transferring his superb recent run of form into a victory of his own on home soil.
“I’ve been playing well for a couple of months now and I'm not sure what I need to do to win,” he said. “I just haven't quite got over that hump the last couple of months but I'll keep at it and hopefully I'll get a win.”
Joining Langer in the field will be fellow Senior Tour Members Mike Donald, David Frost, Glenn Ralph, Eduardo Romero, the 2008 champion, and Peter Senior.
Ralph sealed his place in the field courtesy of finishing finish fourth in the 2009 Senior Tour Order of Merit, helped largely by his maiden victory in the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open – a title which he will defend next month.
Trying to retain the crown this week will be American Fred Funk who was the runaway winner 12 months ago at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana. A week after losing in a play-off in the 2009 Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Sunningdale, Funk fired a closing round 65 to win the US Senior Open by six shots from Joey Sindelar.
The former Ryder Cup player is in good form going into the championship once again having finished in a share of third place – along with three players, including Australian Senior – behind Langer and Pavin in last week’s Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard.