Birdies there for the taking

It isn’t easy holding off Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer on the Champions Tour. But Kenny Perry drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole to post a 23-under score for the tournament and claim a one-shot victory over Langer, who shot 9 under in a fantastic final round of golf. Perry, ahead of Langer by three to start the day, was 6 under through 12 holes Sunday and put things into cruise control for much of the back nine. His birdie at 18 came after six consecutive pars. Just about everyone in the 81-player field got in on the action. The scoring average of 69.609 was the lowest in tournament history.

 

HOLE OF THE DAY

No. 7, 318 yards, par 4

Bernhard Langer’s chunked bunker shot there led to a bogey while for Kenny Perry it marked the middle of three straight birdies to get him to 20-under par at the turn on Sunday. Langer’s bogey on the fourth-easiest hole of the day was one of just five blemishes there all day.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It was a good lie. Poor swing.”

— Langer, on his bunker shot at No. 7.

 

FOUR QUESTIONS: UP AND DOWN WITH BRAD FAXON

The wispy-haired New Englander celebrated his 53rd birthday this week with the announcement that Fox Sports has hired him as a studio analyst for the USGA events they will televise in 2015.

 

Q: When you made your Champions Tour debut here you said it was a “rebirth of your career.” Still feel that way?

A: Absolutely. Fifty is not so old anymore. I probably underestimated when I started out here the quality of golf on the Champions Tour. The guys are playing better than I thought possible. Look at what’s happening here, 20-whatever under par. That’s averaging 7 under per round. Think about that.

 

Q: Hazeltine is hosting the Ryder Cup in 2016, what are your memories of that course playing majors?

A: That’s a hard course. I’ve played it a couple of times, the last in 2002 when Rich Beem was smoking drives on those holes. And at Hazeltine, there are some great finishing holes. But beyond that, I think Minneapolis is a great sports town. I was a big Frank Viola fan, a Kirby Puckett guy. I followed the games up here a lot. I think this will be a great Ryder Cup spot. The town will embrace it in a big way.

 

Q: Fox gave you a birthday present this week announcing you’ve been added to their broadcast team. Have you embraced that part of your career?

A: I’m really excited about that. I am relatively young in the television game; seven events for NBC in the tower, one last year for the Golf Channel and four this year. But it’s amazing how many people watch and notice you. I’m anything but too confident up there. I have a lot to learn, but I love the game and I love talking about it.

 

Q: Be an analyst: What does Tiger Woods’ latest injury mean for his Ryder Cup chances?

A: Well, what will that do for ratings? I’m sure Tom Watson was going to get some pressure from NBC and PGA of America to have him on the team. I’m sure Tiger in the assessment of his own game would be the first to say, you know what I haven’t deserved a spot. But I still don’t think there’s anybody on the other team who would say, great I’m playing Tiger Woods. Even when he’s not on his best. It’s unfortunate. If you’re going to be a selection you want to pick somebody that can play 36 holes. And Tiger not at his best, that’s not going to help.

BRIAN STENSAAS