Golfers are jet-lagged for U.S. Senior Open

Competing in major championships on consecutive weeks, halfway around the globe, is a difficult task, especially if you're in your 50s.

But that's what members of the Champions Tour endure. After competing in the British Senior Open, players took an eight-hour flight to Seattle for the biggest event on the Champions Tour calendar -- the U.S. Senior Open.

The odd scheduling, a product of television, will be tweaked next year, with a week between the majors. But that doesn't help jet-lagged players this season, many of whom also played in the British Open the week before the British Senior.

U.S. Senior OpenWhen » Thursday-SundayWhere » Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash.TV » ESPN2 (Thur.-Fri.), NBC (Sat.-Sun.)Five to watch at U.S. Senior Open

"It doesn't make any sense," Bernhard Langer told reporters. "They don't even make the younger players do this [on the PGA Tour]."

Langer won his first Champions Tour major last week at Carnoustie.

Last year at the U.S. Senior, Tom Watson expressed his frustration.

"With the travel schedule, it puts a burden on your body," Watson said. "For instance, I go over to the British Open and I go five days in advance of the first rounds. That's a minimum amount of time that I like to spend to get my body used to the time change."

The U.S. Senior Open is actually the second of three straight majors on the Champions Tour. After two weeks off, the tour resumes in August with the JELD-WEN Tradition.

The schedule is such that Fred Couples, the top money winner this year on the Champions Tour, skipped the British Senior Open to be fresh for this week in his hometown. When he tees off Thursday, Couples will have a significant edge over players who are coming off long flights from the British Isles.

Another adjustment players must make this week will be to the golf course. The lush, tree-lined Sahalee Country Club in the suburbs of Seattle bears little resemblance to the courses in Scotland that hosted tournaments the last two weeks.

"It's funny coming from Carnoustie and standing on the tee. It's such a different look," said Corey Pavin, runner-up last week in the British Senior. "But that's what's fun about what we have to do. We have to play different styles and adapt quick and I love the condition of the golf course here."

The condition of his mind and body, however -- especially after the long flight -- might not be so good.

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com