Langer returns, belly punting, and more from DSGO on Wednesday - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Langer returns, belly punting, and more from DSGO on Wednesday

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ENDICOTT (WBNG) - The first round of the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Open tees off Friday. Wednesday marked the opening day of the two-day pro-am event, that includes Bernhard Langer who will participate on Thursday. 

Langer turns 60 next week and has resurrected his career on the PGA Tour Champions. The German has won four tournaments this season, including three majors. Langer has now won the most majors in PGA Tour Champions history with ten. He also won the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open in 2014, but missed last year's tournament due to the Olympics. This year, Langer is back and has his sights set on becoming the first two-time champion in DICK'S Open history. 

"Well, it's about time that will be changed then," said PGA Tour Champions golfer Bernhard Langer. "Somebody's got to win it twice, right? What it will take is just some of my best golf. As I said earlier, I would have to drive it straight, hit good irons, and my putter's got to be on too. You've got to have all aspects of the game in shape because we have 80 guys teeing it up and there will be two or three or 10 of them that are at the top of their game and somebody will make it look very easy even though it's not."

Langer tees off on the 10th hole for Thursday's Pro-Am at 1:30 p.m.

Round 1 DICK'S Open Pairings:

Joey Sindelar on his 2017 play:

Horseheads resident and annual fan-favorite at the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open, Joey Sindelar, expressed his excitement once again to return to Endicott for the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Open.  

Sindelar is currently 56th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. His best finish this year came at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, where he finished tied for 11th. Sindelar is a two-time B.C. Open champion but has yet to claim the trophy at the DICK'S Open, something he hopes changes this weekend. 

"So far this year, I've been stuck in neutral," said PGA Tour Champions golfer Joey Sindelar. "Nothing has been bad, but at the same time the fire didn't light yet. I've got nine or ten tournaments left and I'm just going to bust my rear end and do the best I can. It feels like it could work, so why not here."

Belly punting:

Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron, two golfers in this year's DICK'S Sporting Goods Open field, use a controversial putting technique called belly putting. It requires a longer shaft, which allows for a higher hand placement near the belly. Many believe Langer and McCarron's style to be in violation of golf's anchoring ban, but the USGA has come to their defense, as have Langer and McCarron themselves. 

"You know I play within the rules and that's all I can say to that," said PGA Tour Champions golfer Bernhard Langer. "I made sure I understood the rule. I read through it, I talked to the officials, and I've played all over the world that way for the last year and a half, and I never had any complaints."

"You know the criticism he gets is from a very small minority, and it's the same small minority that believes that we didn't even land on the moon," said PGA Tour Champions golfer Scott McCarron. "So, I really don't take that much credence into what some of these guys say. I ask them, 'Come on out. Let me show you how we do it.' Once they see it. Then they understand. So the criticism is mostly from people who aren't educated on what we do."

Scott McCarron - A golfer to watch this weekend:

With so many talented golfers in Endicott this week, it's challenging to gain a sense of the favorites. One player to watch this weekend, Scott McCarron. The Sacramento, California native owns seven top ten finishes this season, including two PGA Tour Champions victories. He is currently second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, behind only Bernhard Langer. McCarron owns four career victories on the PGA Tour Champions but searches for his first DICK'S Sporting Goods Open win this weekend.

"Well, it really was one of my favorite tournaments that I came to on the PGA Tour," said PGA Champions Tour golfer Scott McCarron. "Just because the golf course is great and the support from the surrounding area, from the people here, is just fantastic. I loved coming here. This is one of the tournaments that really changed the way I started thinking and approaching after being in the hunt. You have to have patience. I was always trying to force the issue when I got in the hunt. I felt I had to play great just to win."

McCarron tees off in the first round Friday morning at 10:50 a.m. 

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