Langer is in running for two Champions awards

Bernhard Langer is bound to win at least one award this year on the Champions Tour.


The two-time Masters Tournament champion was the only player to be listed on the ballot as a candidate for player of the year and rookie of the year. Langer won three times and captured the Champions Tour money title with $1.65 million.

Other nominees for player of the year are major champions Jay Haas , Fred Funk , Eduardo Romero , along with Loren Roberts . For rookie of the year, Langer joins John Cook , Jeff Sluman , Mark Wiebe and Gene Jones .

On the Nationwide Tour, the nominees were the top four players on the money list, headed by Matt Bettencourt .

WHO'S NO. 2? Phil Mickelson , who has slipped to No. 3 in the world, was asked last week during a conference call whether Sergio Garcia deserved to be No. 2.

Garcia had one victory and three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour and two victories and a second place in Europe. Mickelson had two PGA Tour victories and one runner-up. Garcia tied for second in the PGA Championship, while Mickelson was top 20 in all four majors.

"I won't answer that directly," Mickelson said. "But I think that he's played some wonderful golf this year. I haven't played to the level that I want as far as wins. I'll be looking to improve on that."

SKINS GAME: Ten years ago, the LG Skins Game raised its prize money to $1 million for a Thanksgiving weekend field that included Greg Norman , Fred Couples , Tom Lehman and double major winner Mark O'Meara . The average purse on the PGA Tour that year was $2.18 million.

O'Meara capped off his greatest season with eight skins to capture $430,000.

A decade later, just about everything has changed but the size of the purse.

The average PGA Tour purse is now $5.8 million, and even if one of the four players -- Mickelson, K.J. Cho i, Rocco Mediate and defending champion Stephen Ames -- wins all the skins, the $1 million would be equivalent to 105th on the tour money list.

The 26th edition of the LG Skins Game starts Saturday at Indian Wells.

GOING LOW: No one has to remind Bill Haas that sometimes going low isn't good enough to win.

Haas finished at No. 104 on the money list with just over $1 million, but he led the PGA Tour by having six tournaments in which he shot all four rounds in the 60s without winning. If that's not enough, Haas didn't even finish in the top 10 four of those times.

ADDED SECURITY: Police are increasing security for the Casio World Open after a caller warned that mines had been buried at the venue and small explosions shattered windows at the clubhouse and building of a corporate sponsor.

Police said they will deploy around 160 officers at the Kuroshio Country Club in Kochi, where the four-day Japan Golf Tour event will kick off Thursday.



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