Bernhard Langer was fishing in Alaska in June while his countryman was busy claiming Pinehurst for himself. Langer caught only bits and pieces of Martin Kaymer's runaway win in the U.S. Open, not that it dulled any of his enjoyment at seeing another German record such a big win.
"It's hard to win any tournament, but to win by that many shots, you really must have played out of your shoes," Langer said Thursday.
Langer's had a few wins of his own this summer. He's the runaway leader on the Champions Tour with five wins; a sixth at this weekend's SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club, where he won in 2012, would be the most on the senior tour since 2000.
With four events to go, only Langer and Colin Montgomerie are still in the running for the Charles Schwab Cup as tour champion - Langer, who won the title in 2010, has a runaway lead - guaranteeing this summer's European takeover extends to the Champions Tour.
"It's been a great year for German golf with Martin winning two of the five majors I call it, including the (Players), and I won two majors out here," Langer said. "That doesn't happen very often. We only have a handful of guys on tour and for us to have that kind of success is pretty amazing."
Europeans won three of four majors this summer on the PGA Tour - Kaymer at Pinehurst, then McIlroy at the British Open and PGA Championship - before administering another spanking to the United States at the Ryder Cup, winning for the sixth time in the past seven tries and eighth out of the past 10.
Meanwhile, Langer and Montgomerie have combined to win seven of this summer's 22 Champions Tour tournaments - despite both taking a month off going into this weekend - including four of the five majors. Even the part-time Europeans have thrived: Miguel Angel Jiminez won his debut earlier this summer and finished in the top-10 in his other appearance, the British Senior Open. Montgomerie even acknowledged the time may have come for a senior Ryder Cup, now that the Europeans have a few more contenders for their team.
"It has been quite a dominant year for Europeans, and why I don't know," Montgomerie said.
Kenny Perry, the defending Schwab Cup champion and the 2011 winner at Prestonwood, has an idea.
"The whole world has gotten better," Perry said. "They've caught up to us. We dominated for the longest time."
Langer and Montgomerie are certainly favored this week, but if there's a sleeper, it may be another European. Nick Faldo made his senior debut at Prestonwood last summer but only made it through 12 holes before an elbow injury knocked him out. He's back to try again, still looking for his first Champions Tour win.
Those three will tee off together at 12:15 p.m. Friday in the marquee grouping of the day. Montgomerie said it will be their first time playing as a trio since the 1997 Ryder Cup, when captain Seve Ballesteros instructed them back out to the 17th tee, along with Lee Westwood, after one day of play.
"We were being sent back on buggies to play the hole again because he wasn't happy with the way we played it," Montgomerie said. "I think that will be mentioned again on the first few holes. I'm looking forward to playing with them both."
The Europeans won the Ryder Cup that year, too. They dominated the PGA Tour majors this summer. Now they've come for the Champions Tour, too. Whether it's Langer or Montgomerie, a European is going to stand atop that tour as well at the end of the season. And maybe this weekend as well.