NAPLES, FL. — Tour Edge, based in Batavia, IL., isn’t the biggest golf club manufacturer, but it is the dominant one on PGA Tour Champions. That was particularly evident on Sunday when two Tour Edge ambassadors – Bernhard Langer and Tim Petrovic – finished one-two in the first full-field event of the season for the 50-and-over circuit.
Langer signed with Tour Edge last year, and the Chubb Classic was his most impressive performance since then. He shot his age (64) in the first round on the Black Course at Tiburon Golf Club and went on to win the 54-hole competition wire to wire.
“It’s great to get off to a good start in the new year and be near the top of the Schwab Cup again,’’ said Langer, who won the German championship when he was 17 and has now been a professional golfer for 50 years. “I know that (Miguel Angel) Jimenez is ahead of me, but just to have a good performance like this is confidence building.’’
Shooting 68 in the second and third rounds Langer finished at 16-under-par 200 and was three strokes ahead of Petrovic, who carded a 69 in the final round at the only facility to host tournaments on the Champions, PGA and LPGA tours in the same calendar year. The PGA and LPGA play their events on Tiburon’s Gold Course.
Though both are Greg Norman designs, the Black is much tighter than the Gold layout. The Black routing is more difficult for spectators, but they turned out in bigger-than-expected numbers to watch Langer win the event for the fourth time.
Tour Edge boss David Glod opted to focus his player ambassador budget on Champions tour players and the staffers include much more than Langer and Petrovic. Scott McCarron, Tom Lehman, Ken Duke, Alex Cejka and Mike Weir are also officially carrying the Tour Edge banner and many more – most notably John Daly – have at least some Tour Edge clubs in their bags.
Petrovic was getting used to some new ones at the Chubb, but he knew how difficult it is to compete against Langer.
“Obviously he’s comfortable winning,’’ said Petrovic. “We already knew that. But he’s just efficient in everything he does. I want to know what his heartbeat is coming down the stretch. It’s probably half of what the rest of us have.’’
Langer, though, was a success story long before he hooked up with Tour Edge. Sunday’s win was his 43rd on PGA Tour Champions, two short of the record 45 wins by Hale Irwin. Langer also won the Champions’ season-long Schwab Cup competition six times after winning 42 times on the European PGA Tour and three times – including two Masters – on the PGA Tour. His Chubb win extended Langer’s streak of at least one victory to 16 years on PGA Tour Champions.
This season is different from the previous ones, though, as it’s Langer’s first without his 48-year swing coach Willy Hoffman. He passed away a month ago.
McCarron was Tour Edge’s big gun before Langer signed up. McCarron has 11 Champions’ wins and was the Schwab Cup champion in 2019-20. He had a tough final round at Tiburon on Sunday, however. His 82 in the final round included a quadruple bogey nine on the par-5 fifteenth and dropped him to a tie for 71st finish. Oddly enough, McCarron had birdies before and after the disaster at No. 15.
Florida was the 2022 starting point for the LPGA, which played its first three events in the Sunshine State but won’t play again until the HSBC Women’s World Championship tees off on March 3 in Singapore.. The PGA’s Korn Ferry circuit had three events out of the U.S. before playing its first American event – the Suncoast Classic – at Lakewood National at the same time the Chubb was in progress. Lakewood is a two-hour drive from Tiburon.
Now the PGA Tour is coming to Florida, starting with the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens on Thursday. The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, in Orlando; The Players Championship, at Ponte Vedra; and the Valspar Championship, at Innisbrook in Palm Harbour, follow over the next four weeks on Florida courses.