Bernhard Langer hopes to score back-to-back wins with a victory at this weekend's AT&T Champions Classic at Valencia Country Club after his playoff victory at the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach on Sunday.
But the two-time Masters champion from Germany will have to overcome a bit of history. No player on the 50-and-over Champions Tour has won the two West Coast tournaments in the same year.
Langer, who turned 50 in August, and the rest of the Champions Tour field tee off today for the first of three rounds at the tough par-72 Valencia course in the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles.
Tom Purtzer is the tournament's defending champion, having defeated Loren Roberts with a 17-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole of sudden death a year ago.
It was Purtzer's second Champions victory at Valencia, where he and Roberts finished regulation play at 206, or 10 under, last year.
They are scheduled to be joined by other previous tournament winners Tom Kite, Gil Morgan and Des Smyth, along with Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Craig Stadler, Mark O'Meara and others.
Champions Tour newcomers Nick Price, John Cook and Jeff Sluman also are scheduled to make their first starts at Valencia, where the $1.6-million purse includes $240,000 for the winner.
Langer won Sunday's Toshiba Classic on the seventh hole of a playoff with Jay Haas. Langer said the extended pressure of those holes left him "exhausted" but that "I'll be ready for this weekend."
He won't get much relief at Valencia, however. At nearly 7,000 yards, it's considered one of the most difficult courses on the Champions Tour regular schedule.
Designed by noted course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in 1965, Valencia is often labeled a "traditional-style" course bereft of gimmicky holes. Instead, it demands pinpoint accuracy tee-to-green with few chances to recover from wayward shots.
"You've got to be precise with your irons," Langer said. "One bad shot can cost you. It's a ball striker's golf course."
Valencia also features dense grass surrounding the greens that makes for troublesome chipping, and undulating greens themselves with multiple ridges.
"The up-and-downs are very difficult," Peter Jacobsen said. "The key to winning here is conquering the greens."
Among the players with extra incentive to win this weekend is the 62-year-old Irwin.
At last year's AT&T Champions Classic, the three-time U.S. Open winner led after two rounds -- which included tying the tournament course record with a 64 on Friday -- then faltered with a one-over 73 on Sunday to finish two behind Purtzer and Roberts.
Another is Kite, who won at Valencia in 2002 and again in 2006, when his five-shot victory over Morgan was the largest winning margin in tournament history.
This will be Valencia's eighth year of playing host to the tournament, which started in 1990 at Rancho Park Golf Club in Los Angeles and then was held at Wilshire Country Club from 1995 to 2000.
The first groups in the 79-player field are scheduled to begin teeing off at 10:20 a.m. today.