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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Jimenez could be a major threat to Langer hopes

Miguel Angel Jimenezin action at the PGA Tour Champions Insperity Invitational
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Senior PGA starts midday Thursday

President Trump won't need to go far from his White House lair to watch the second Champions Tour Major – the Senior PGA is being played for the first time at Trump National in Washington DC.

The PGA is the missing link in Bernhard Langer's chain of senior Majors and after the ageless German routed last week's opposition at The Tradition, he won't be going off at any sort of a price.

Understandably, it's the one Langer wants most, even more so as his next Major triumph will see him overhaul Jack Nicklaus's record eight senior Majors.

Two of his most dangerous rivals, Fred Couples and Steve Stricker, are not entered.

As Langer turns 60 in the next three months, time would normally be against him but last week's spectacular show confirms he has a game and an attitude to hard work, diet and fitness that can withstand the passing of the years. Trump National will not be a course everyone has played but you can be sure nobody will be better prepared.

This Major has had a strong European presence over the last five years with Roger Chapman winning in 2012 and Colin Montgomerie going back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. The love affair with the PGA Championship could well be about to continue.

Montgomerie found only an on-fire Rocco Mediate barring his hat-trick bid 12 months ago. He has been slow getting going this year after tearing ankle ligaments and last week's 25th place suggests he is still a fair way short off the full Monty.

Even if the Scot is not at his peak, Europe still have prospective winners, notably Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez. But Senior Open champion Paul Broadhurst is no mug, Ian Woosnam and Jesper Parnevik are Champions Tour winners in the last two years, and two-time Masters hero Jose Maria Olazabal wouldn't have made a comeback if he didn't believe he could contend.

Jimenez's run of a win and four other top-tens before last week's 20th in Alabama makes him a danger to all.

The pick of the Americans should be new boys David Toms and Jerry Kelly, but Kelly has been missing a lot of cuts and Toms has made a slower start than expected. His Tradition sixth was an improved effort and further progress can be anticipated.

Scott McCarron, Tom Lehman, Kenny Perry, Kevin Sutherland, Fred Funk, Brandt Jobe and a revived John Daly add to America's hand, with the aggressive McCarron, a winner in February and runner-up to Langer on Sunday, likely to shine again on these open fairways.

M A Jimenez
2.5pts each-way 10-1 bet365, Betfred
D Toms
2pts each-way 20-1 general
B Langer
3pts 9-2 Betfred
S McCarron
1pt each-way 20-1 Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes

Last week's spectacular show confirms Langer has a game and an attitude to hard work, diet and fitness that can withstand the passing of the years
E.W. Terms
Sky bet