Inspired By Aaron Rodgers, a Rehabbing Bernhard Langer Targets Return to Golf at the Insperity

Bernhard Langer PGA TOUR Champions Profile
Bernard Langer during the third round of the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club on July 29, 2017 in Bridgend, Wales. (Photo by Phil Inglis via Getty Images)

OCALA, FL. – Yes, I know. There’s been some monumental golf news as of late – Nelly Korda winning five LPGA tournaments in a row and Scottie Scheffler racking up four wins and a runner-up finish in his last five starts. Each also won a second career major title during those hot streaks.

Those are huge developments, but this is pretty significant, too: Bernhard Langer, the winningest player in the history of PGA Tour Champions, reports that he’s on the mend from a serious injury and is even ready to set a target date for his return to competition.

Langer is 66. He’s won 42 titles on the European Tour (2nd all-time) including two Masters (1985, 1993). After turning 50, the German star racked up a record 46 victories on the PGA Tour Champions’ circuit.

Bernhard Langer PGA TOUR Champions Profile
Bernhard Langer on the 18th green during the second round of the PGA TOUR Champions Dominion Energy Charity Classic at The Country Club of Virginia on October 21, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Stan Badz for PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

And then came a game of pickleball in February.

Langer took a tumble and underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. One of the most fit players in golf went down with a career-threatening injury.

Last week, with help from Tour Edge – his Illinois-based club provider – Langer was ready to talk about it.

“I was at a country club in Boca Raton (FL), where I live, and I do other sports there, like ping pong and pickleball,” said Langer.

“This time I was playing pickleball and my opponent lobbed me. I took a few steps back and heard a loud noise and felt pain in my leg. At first I thought I’d hit something but saw that there was nothing there.”

Bernhard Langer PGA TOUR Champions Profile
Bernhard Langer tees off on the first hole during the first round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai GC on Jan 18, 2024 in Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Chris Condon for PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

He had surgery the following day while fearing what the results might bring.

“I started to wonder what this meant,” he said. “I had no idea how long I’d be out – if I’d ever be back.”

Those fears have subsided considerably. Langer has been practicing golf and has a goal in mind: play in the Insperity Championship May 3-5 at The Woodlands in Texas. It’s a tournament Langer has won four times over an 11-year span – the wins coming in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2018.

“That’s what I’m training for,” he said. “Everything has to go perfectly for me to be competing in Houston.”

Bernhard Langer PGA TOUR Champions Profile
Bernhard Langer poses with the trophy after his victory at the Insperity Invitational on the Tournament Course at the Woodlands CC on May 4, 2014 in The Woodlands, Texas. It was Langer’s third of four career victories at the Insperity. (Photo by Scott Halleran via Getty Images)

Immediately after surgery Langer’s leg was put in a heavy boot, much like skiers use. Eventually he was switched to a less cumbersome one and was told by his medical advisors to stand up.

“At first I had a mental block,” said Langer. “I didn’t stand for weeks. I’d been laying on a couch for weeks and losing muscle strength, which I didn’t want to do.”

So, Langer made an effort to stand up.

“I got up with no issues,” he said.

His healing increased immediately. He does upper body issues every day and has some exercises designed to strengthen his Achilles. He carries a band with him for those, which have improved his rotation.

Bernhard Langer PGA TOUR Champions Profile
Bernhard Langer looks over his tee shot on 17 during day one of the Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands CC on April 29, 2022 in The Woodlands, TX (Photo by Ken Murray for Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Other athletes have had similar injuries, and I’ve followed the story of Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets quarterback,” said Langer. “He had the same procedure as me and came back fairly quickly. When I learned he was on the field throwing the ball after eight-nine weeks that encouraged me. It lifted my spirits.”

Langer had intended to make his last appearance in the Masters in April, but the surgery ruled that out. He vows it won’t end his tournament career, though.

“My goal has always been to be the best I can be,” he said. “I still think I can be competitive and win on certain courses. I can be productive for a few more years. I’ve still got some good golf in me.”

I believe he does, too, and look forward to seeing it.

The golf world needs more players like Bernhard Langer.



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