DESPITE the defiant insistence of a variety of nipped, tucked, lifted and stretched Hollywood veterans, you can’t defy the ageing process as we all slowly become entangled in the tentacles of its withering embrace.

The lines on Bernhard Langer’s face may hint at his impending 60th birthday but his golf has certainly not been marked by the passage of time.

Langer remains as fresh and as sprightly as ever although his recent mishap in the Senior Players’ Championship may have added one or two more wrinkles of anguish to that wise, seasoned countenance.

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Just the other week, Langer was on course to become the first player in the over-50s ranks to win the same major four times in a row but a crippling double-bogey on the penultimate hole, when he was holding a one stroke advantage, cost him dearly and the title eventually went to Scott McCarron.

“It’s going to hurt for a little while because it was within my grasp to win the championship,” Langer reflected.

“All I had to do was come home in even par more or less. But it’s easier said than done.”

There are many ways to get over the finishing line. Just ask Jordan Spieth? Langer didn’t manage to complete the job on this most recent occasion but it was a rare stumble from the imperious German.

In this game, you don’t have to wait too long for an opportunity to make amends and Langer has joined the massed ranks of golfing auld yins in south Wales this week for the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl.

With a mighty haul of 32 wins to his name on the lucrative Champions Tour, including nine senior major crowns, Langer remains the undisputed king of the golden oldies. His thirst for the competitive cut-and-thrust remains unquenchable.

“I haven’t lost the desire,” said the two-time Masters champion. “I can’t speak for my colleagues, but the guys who are still competing at our age have that fire in their belly.

“They are true champions. They like to win, otherwise they wouldn’t still be here competing.”

The return to the magnificent links of Porthcawl will fill Langer with a huge amount of excitement and anticipation.

It was here, after all, where his majesty was showcased in triumphant splendour when he ambled to a remarkable 13 shot victory the last time the Senior Open was staged at Porthcawl in 2014. His victory march was the biggest winning margin in Senior Tour history while his 18-under-par tally was the lowest in the 30-year history of the championship.

Colin Montgomerie, the three-time senior major winner who finished a distant second that year, was lavish in his praise for his rival.

“Bernhard’s performance was one of the golfing performances of all time,” said Monty in a declaration of reverence.

Tom Watson also joined in the chorus of compliments for 72-hole show from Langer that was as neatly engineered as a fine German motor.

“Porthcawl is a course that takes a lot of understanding, so that is why I thought that Bernhard may have played the best four rounds of golf not just on the Senior Tour, but on any of the regular tours that year,” said Watson.

In the eye-brow raising aftermath of that conquest, there was even a vocal campaign that built up a head off steam in support of Langer being called up as a wild card for the 2014 Ryder Cup. It didn’t materialise, of course, but for a while it was a wonderfully romantic notion.

The chances of a repeat performance of such utter dominance this week may be somewhat fanciful. As Langer himself states, his Tiger-esque demolition three years ago was a “once in a blue moon” occasion.

“I was almost going to feel sorry for Monty,” reflected Langer. “He played some really good golf himself and, if I hadn’t been there, he would have won the championship. It was just one of those silly weeks when everything comes together.

“You’re in the zone with your swing, you’re thinking clearly, you feel good about everything and you are making the right putts when necessary. I have been fortunate enough in my career to have that a few times, going back all the way to the Under-25 World Championship in 1979 that I won by 17 shots.

“I had a couple of other ones but it is very, very difficult to do nowadays because the competition is so good, no matter what tour you play and where in the world you play. There’s always competition and it’s difficult to distance yourself from the field.”

Langer will be joined in the field this week by an all-star cast which, as well as Monty and Watson, includes the likes of Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul McGinley, Ian Woosnam and John Daly.

Paul Broadhurst, who won at Carnoustie last year, defends his crown.