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Late prodigies, Hale Irwin and Berhard Langer


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#1 Hankshank

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 07:33 AM

Seeing that Langer won yet another tournament on the Champions Tour, It got me thinking if he was the best ever, I do not follow the Champions tour that closely. But I found that Hale Irwin won quite a few more tournaments that Bernhard. I am old enough to remember Hale Irvin missing the BO due to fiddling with a putt, I guess it was 83 when I just took up golf. In those days it wasnt as easy as now to get knowledge about golfing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, I had a vauge picture of Nicklaus, Tom Watson and a few other guys, And Hale Irwin was one that won once a year or so. Kind of Jim Furyk good or something like that.

I followed Langer more closely since he played in Europe and I got the chance to see him on television once in a while. And he was really, really good on the course. But couldnt sink a putt. He was something like Westwood or Garcia. But then came the broomstick and lo and behold, he became the leading man on the Seniors tour.

Was it something like that with Irwin too? I do not remember his early Champions tour career. OK he won 20 PGA tournaments and 3 US Opens, but for a guy that apparently won like 5 times a year on the Seniors you would expect that he had been even better in his "regular" career. Did he also find something out once he turned 50? Or did just the other, better, guys quit golf?


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#2 raynorfan1

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 07:54 AM

I think in Hale Irwinís case, he was just a superior athlete whose body held up better than a lot of other guys. He was an All-Big Eight football player in college - and I think his physical abilities were probably just better than others.

I donít think he ďimprovedĒ as he got older so much as he played at a very high level in his 30ís and didnít see a huge decline after 50.

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#3 golfgirlrobin

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:33 AM

Hale wasn’t flashy and he was competing against Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson and Miller.  Guys who ate up a lot of the headlines.

You’re down a rabbit hole, though, if you’re going to argue that 20 wins and 3 majors makes makes him some sort of glorified journeyman until his senior tour success.
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#4 ClintDagger

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:57 AM

Both guys were regular tour studs as well.  I think their success is in large part due to their desire and hard work.  You get to the senior tour, and all of a sudden the very cream of the crop from your regular tour days go into semi retirement and itís that 2 or 3 major winner that is left at the top of the heap.

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#5 golfandfishing

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 10:49 AM

Irwin embraced the senior tour and played regularly, as does Langer. This is the biggest difference in his huge amount of wins vs Nicklaus, etc.  For a while he battled Gil Morgan, Bruce Fleischer and Ray Floyd for the most wins in a year. Again, 3 guys who played a full schedule.


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#6 schley

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 10:20 AM

Langer won 2 masters.  I wouldn't call that a late bloomer.  Only has stayed longer so his candle has burned twice as long, instead of twice as bright.

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#7 3whacker

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 10:50 AM

Notah Begay made a very astute comment this morning about Miguel Angel Jimenez and his lack of success on the PGA Tour..He alluded to the fact that MAJ's game particularly his ball flight and the strengths and weaknesses of his game were not conducive to the trend on the PGA Tour but fits well on the Champions Tour...I think the same can be said for Langer and Irwin..Neither were long off the tee, but were excellent iron players..

I also believe that when you see certain individuals excel on the Champions Tour that weren't exactly world beaters on the regular PGA Tour, has a lot to do with how well they took care of themselves in their 40's....a Champions Tour best window of opportunity is 50-55, Irwin and Langer kept themselves in great shape past that window plus the speed of the greens and the wider fairways and course set ups fit their games to a T..They are also very tough mentally and made putts

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#8 widow-maker

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 11:03 AM

Both Irwin and Langer are strong minded.  They kept in shape physically and were just mentally stronger and more willful.  Irwin's 20 wins and 3 majors makes him far more than a journeyman on the regular tour.  How many of today's players can you name that are going to end up with a resume better than his?  I'd say probably 5 or less.

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#9 Big Cat 3

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 12:24 PM

View Postgolfandfishing, on 16 May 2018 - 10:49 AM, said:

Irwin embraced the senior tour and played regularly, as does Langer. This is the biggest difference in his huge amount of wins vs Nicklaus, etc.  For a while he battled Gil Morgan, Bruce Fleischer and Ray Floyd for the most wins in a year. Again, 3 guys who played a full schedule.
Exactly ... those two play all time. If VJ and Freddie played a full senior tour rather than once in awhile, they would dominate too.

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#10 Guia

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 12:48 PM

Both Irwin and Langer were also stars on the regular tour and both had won Majors.  They both were/are in very good physical condition and have great focus and determination.  I would not classify them as Late Bloomers, given their history.  

VJ to me was a late bloomer, he was in his 40s before he peaked.


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#11 Cwebb

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 01:23 PM

Hale Irwin's record after 50 is one of the most impressive in golf.  It's probably the least likely to be broken.  Langer even being in the same zip code is awesome

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#12 lowheel

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 03:15 PM

View PostHankshank, on 16 May 2018 - 07:33 AM, said:

Seeing that Langer won yet another tournament on the Champions Tour, It got me thinking if he was the best ever, I do not follow the Champions tour that closely. But I found that Hale Irwin won quite a few more tournaments that Bernhard. I am old enough to remember Hale Irvin missing the BO due to fiddling with a putt, I guess it was 83 when I just took up golf. In those days it wasnt as easy as now to get knowledge about golfing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, I had a vauge picture of Nicklaus, Tom Watson and a few other guys, And Hale Irwin was one that won once a year or so. Kind of Jim Furyk good or something like that.

I followed Langer more closely since he played in Europe and I got the chance to see him on television once in a while. And he was really, really good on the course. But couldnt sink a putt. He was something like Westwood or Garcia. But then came the broomstick and lo and behold, he became the leading man on the Seniors tour.

Was it something like that with Irwin too? I do not remember his early Champions tour career. OK he won 20 PGA tournaments and 3 US Opens, but for a guy that apparently won like 5 times a year on the Seniors you would expect that he had been even better in his "regular" career. Did he also find something out once he turned 50? Or did just the other, better, guys quit golf?

Irwin was in great shape and genetically was gifted.The regular tour just got a little too long for him but he was lazer straight with his irons. He won everything for a few years on the champions tour. He was tiger esque dominant. i would always watch when he was on. Langer is mentally so strong and disciplined its insane. Resiliency rarely seen in the game. Was in the before last group at 60 years old at the masters.Jason day was outdriving him by 45-50 yards and he stayed right with him. I believe langer suffering a back injury so young made him so intune with his body that his mind knew what he could and couldnt do. Both very gutsy players

Edited by lowheel, 20 May 2018 - 03:16 PM.


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#13 golfandfishing

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 04:18 PM

Hale Irwin was built like a defensive back.

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#14 LYG

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 04:26 PM

Back in the 1970's and early 80's, Golf Digest gave the "best" award....best putter, driver, long irons etc. Irwin always won the best fairway woods....back when hitting a long, floating 3 and 4 wood with persimmon took great skill.

Known for his mental toughness.  

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#15 Ashley Schaeffer

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 05:11 PM

Kind of interesting that they are/were both known for a slightly over-the-top type move.

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#16 Big Cat 3

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 07:41 PM

View Postgolfandfishing, on 20 May 2018 - 04:18 PM, said:

Hale Irwin was built like a defensive back.
That is funny, he was built like a college db in the 60’s ... his safety mate was Dolphin great Dick Anderson

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#17 gatorMD

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 07:45 PM

both great player pre and on senior tour lol
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#18 grm24

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 11:44 PM

View Postgolfandfishing, on 20 May 2018 - 04:18 PM, said:

Hale Irwin was built like a defensive back.
Or a quarterback.

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#19 iBanesto

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 03:24 AM

View Post3whacker, on 20 May 2018 - 10:50 AM, said:

Notah Begay made a very astute comment this morning about Miguel Angel Jimenez and his lack of success on the PGA Tour..He alluded to the fact that MAJ's game particularly his ball flight and the strengths and weaknesses of his game were not conducive to the trend on the PGA Tour but fits well on the Champions Tour...I think the same can be said for Langer and Irwin..Neither were long off the tee, but were excellent iron players..

I also believe that when you see certain individuals excel on the Champions Tour that weren't exactly world beaters on the regular PGA Tour, has a lot to do with how well they took care of themselves in their 40's....a Champions Tour best window of opportunity is 50-55, Irwin and Langer kept themselves in great shape past that window plus the speed of the greens and the wider fairways and course set ups fit their games to a T..They are also very tough mentally and made putts

Some European players have struggled to adapt to the American culture when they played on the PGA Tour.

In one way or another, this has a flow on effect on their golfing success in the States.

I'm sure a player like Montgomerie was good enough to win 1 PGA Tour title, if he committed to play full time.

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#20 lumberman2462

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:28 AM

I watched Hale Irwin play in several Senior Tour events back in the 90s - his Senior prime - and one thing that stood out was that he was clearly in better shape than 95+% of the guys out there.  Fitness has improved dramatically on the Champions Tour in the past few years but those old enough to remember the 80s and 90s will remember the Senior Tour guys often referring to the Flat-Belly vs Round-Belly Tours.

Langer is also in really good shape physically and when you really think about their games...they're very similar.  Nothing really flashy, not long but both good iron players.  Give them a good putting week and they win.

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