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Senior Players Championship notebook: Langer a soccer fan

| Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 7:45 p.m.

German native Bernhard Langer, the current leader in the Charles Schwab Cup golf standings, will be hoping for a draw when the United States plays Germany in the World Cup soccer match Thursday.

Langer is one of the favorites, along with 2013 winner Kenny Perry, at the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club which begins Thursday.

“Common sense would be that they're going to play for a draw,” Langer said. “I don't know what's going to happen. It will be interesting to see whether that's the tactics or whether they actually have a real game and try to win it.

“It's fun to watch soccer. That's what I'll be doing next week when I'm off, watching games.”

Langer also spoke highly about USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who played, captained and coached the German team.

“They're certainly playing attractive soccer,” Langer said. “I was impressed how they came back on Sunday. America's a great country, great nation and I love the people.

“Soccer in the America has come a long way, and hopefully it will continue to improve. Only America is lagging behind really. Sooner or later it will catch.”

Langer had his streak of 20 Top 10 finishes snapped last week at the Encompass Championship.

“It was a fun stretch of tournaments,” Langer said. “It showed how consistently well I played for almost a full year now. There will be more in the future.”

Haas starting 1,000th event

Jay Haas was presented a sketch of himself Wednesday to commemorate being the only Champions Tour player with 1,000 combined starts on the PGA and Champions tours.

“It's been pretty amazing,” said Haas, who has 10 Top 10 finishes in 11 starts this year.

Haas is second to Langer in the Charles Schwab standings, but he's yet to win in 2014.

“I played OK last year but didn't feel like I played my best golf,” Haas said. “I've had numerous chances to win this year. I'm disappointed I haven't been able to pull that off yet. I just haven't made putts or hit a good shot when I really needed to.”

Perry ready to defend

Perry used the 2013 Constellation Senior Players Championship to kick off a great run that ended up with him winning the Charles Schwab Cup and the Champions Tour Player of the Year.

Perry sits fourth in the current standings but is eager to tackle Fox Chapel again. He took advantage of the wet conditions to shoot 63, 63 and 64 to win last year.

“It was a great victory for me,” Perry said. “I put a major next to my name, and it really kind of just set the stage for the summer. It made me a more confident player, made me feel like I finally did it.”

Perry said Fox Chapel is one of his favorite courses.

“It's fun to play, very difficult,” Perry said. “You've got to be precise with your irons, but you can actually get at this golf course if you drive it long and straight. I've got an advantage here if I hit my driver well.”

Bucco fever

Mark Calcavecchia will get an early start in the first round of the Senior Players Championship, which gives him plenty of time to toss out the first pitch when the Pirates play host to the Mets at PNC Park on Thursday night.

The CEO of Constellation, Joe Nigro, will serve as the catcher. Calcavecchia is a 13-time PGA Tour winner as well as a two-time Champions Tour winner. Since making his Champions Tour debut in 2010, Calcavecchia has played in every Senior Players Championship and finished in the Top 10 the last two years at Fox Chapel.

Perry plans to attend the Pirates game Friday as a fan. He said PNC Park is one of his favorite ballparks.

Feature pairings

Below are some of the top pairings for Round 1 on Thursday:

9:46 a.m. — Mark O'Meara, Jeff Sluman, David Frost.

9:57 — Rocco Mediate, Tom Lehman, Tom Kite.

11:47 — Michael Allen, Sandy Lyle, Kirk Triplett.

12:20 p.m. — Kenny Perry, Nick Price, Bernhard Langer.

12:31 — Colin Montgomerie, Jay Haas, Fred Funk.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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