Bernhard Langer has spent nearly half of his life living in Boca Raton, so of course, it is a natural fit to play in the TimberTech Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event from Nov. 1-7 at the Old Course at Broken Sound.
“It is a home game and I have been there every year I have been eligible,” Langer said. “It is extremely special for me. There is nothing like it.
“All of my family lives in Boca and many of my friends, either from church, my bible study group, my golfing buddies, or the club I live in, Woodfield Country Club,” Langer added. “Just living there over 30 years, you have a large number of friends. They are all excited about coming out and cheering me on.”
TimberTech, an outdoor living brand by The AZEK Company and a leader in sustainable decking, recently signed on as the title sponsor of the Tour’s longstanding event in Boca Raton for the next three years, through 2023.
The TimberTech Championship will retain its slot as the second event in the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs.
Langer said he’ll play about 26 tournaments annually. He also noted the TimberTech Championship tournament goes out of its way to bring in different people to expose them to golf, from allowing 17-and-under players free admission, to having a Women’s Pro-Am.
“We have a very experienced tournament organizer in Hollis Cavner, who runs several tournaments on our tour and other tours,” Langer said. “They have a lot of experience running golf tournaments and what works and what’s good, obviously they do it every week or every other week wherever they have venues or places.
“They understand that it is important for the younger generation to have the opportunity to come, plus parents and grandparents because it grows the game,” he continued. “They understand that women are important to golf tournaments, and most important is charity. So much money goes to charity week after week, and the revenue that is created by the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions – the local cities and the local charities where we compete. Most of our promoters do a good job.”
The PGA Tour Champions tournament has been contested in Boca Raton since 2007, and last year was the first with TimberTech as title sponsor of the event.
Darren Clarke won the 2020 Timber-Tech Championship, his first PGA Tour Champions title, with a Sunday birdie on the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk and Langer, a two-time champion.
Tournament Director Eddie Carbone said having the tournament in Boca Raton since 2007 has been great.
“It is quite a remarkable achievement,” Carbone said. “The championship has come a long way with some great partnerships with the city of Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, and now, our new partner, the AZEK company,
TimberTech brand. We are super excited to have them committed.
“Last year was their first as part of a trial and now we have a three-year partnership and hopefully for many more,” Carbone added. “It is quite exciting stuff for all sports fans, golf aficionados and everyone in South Florida.”
When hosting an event, Carbone said there are many factors that they would like to deliver.
“I think you start off with a golf course that the players have fun competing on or want to be a part of, and of course the Old Course at Broken Sound has really kind of stood that test with the conditioning and the improvements they make,” he said. “Their ability to do hospitality and a wonderful job hosting.
“When we look at these events, our goal is to have as many folks as possible out at the event and see these great athletes,” Carbone said. “We have done these things for years, our 17-and-under are admitted free to the championship. The hope here is to see the game, maybe they fall in love with it. Maybe they are avid golfers and they bring their parents out to see the athletes up close on the driving range and walk the golf course.”
The 64-year-old Langer is showing no signs of slowing down. He has won more than 115 professional events, including 41 times on PGA Tour Champions.
“I had no idea when I came out here what this would be like,” said Langer, who is one of five golfers who have won professional golf events on all six continents where golf is played. “My goal was to be one of the better players or more successful ones and I didn’t know it was going to go the way it went and win 9 out of 10 Player of the Year or leading money list titles. It has been beyond my expectations. It’s a fun ride. I still love it and I enjoy playing competitive golf.”
Langer admits there might be a little pressure from his local following.
“There is probably a little more pressure (playing at home) because the expectations are high,” he said. “You have more people out there cheering you on. I am kind of used to that now.
“Whenever there was a really big tournament in Germany, I was the only German for many years,” Langer concluded. “Being on tour there, the expectations there was always high with the media, spectators and friends.
They really didn’t understand it is not like tennis where you have three or four favorites and pretty much one of those always wins. In golf, you have 50 or 100. If you win two or three tournaments in golf, you have had a pretty good season. In tennis, there is a handful of guys that win it all, basically.”