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Bernhard Langer stunned observers at the Senior Open yesterday by hitting a drive of 350 yards – as a 63-year-old. The German then urged the governing bodies to fix the game’s distance issue.
The R&A and US Golf Association are mulling over whether to rein back the big-hitters with regulations placed on the ball, and Langer clearly feels they should act.
“So far, they haven’t yet done anything really of any great impact to bring the ball back,” Langer said. “They’ve obviously put restrictions on the ‘trampolining effect’ on the driver but people are still hitting the ball incredibly far.
“It’s a fascinating part of the game, so it’s a difficult decision and I do get it, because people come out and watch Bryson DeChambeau.
“But at the same time, you’re making some courses obsolete and golf becomes more expensive because whereas you used to need 7,000 yards, now you need 8,000 yards.
“You need an extra 1,000 yards that you must take care of and maintain and water … It’s just less expensive not to do an extra 1,000 yards. It’s just common sense.”
Bernhard Langer just hit a 350-yard drive. 🤯
Not a typo. pic.twitter.com/4xNkWqCo7b
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) July 23, 2021
Langer’s howitzer came during his second-round 67 at Sunningdale that took him into a tie for second with American Jerry Kelly (66), one behind Darren Clarke (67), the Ulsterman aiming to become just the fourth player ever to complete the Open-Senior Open double.
Clarke won the British Open in 2011 at Royal St. George's and could become just the fourth player to win both tournaments.
"Certainly, I would love to have this trophy sitting behind the claret jug," said Clarke, who is at 8-under 132 in the final senior major championship of the year. Of course, he's only halfway there.
"We're all long enough in the tooth to know that this is only two rounds," Clarke said.
A great leaderboard in Berkshire is taking shape, with South African Ernie Els (67) on six under alongside England’s Paul Broadhurst (65).