Bernhard Langer makes miraculous PGA Tour Champions return 3 months after torn Achilles

Only three months after rupturing his Achilles playing pickleball, Bernhard Langer, the winningest player in PGA Tour Champions history, will make his return to competition at this week’s Insperity Invitational.

“Statistically, they say that guys win the most tournaments from age 50 to 55 on the PGA Tour Champions, and then they kind of drop off,” Langer said in a statement to the PGA Tour.

“I’m trying to continue to prove them wrong.”

Langer’s last victory on the PGA Tour Champions came at last year’s U.S. Senior Open, in which he bested Steve Stricker by two strokes.

Given the severity of an Achilles tear, it did not seem feasible that Langer could defend his U.S. Senior Open title this year at Newport Country Club in late June.

And yet, Langer has defied those odds at 66-years-old.

“My opponent lobbed me, and I did a few steps back, jumped up, and hit it, and as I landed, I heard this loud noise and pain in my leg,” Langer said of his injury.

Bernhard Langer, The Masters

Bernhard Langer hangs out at the 2024 Masters Tournament.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“I went down on the ground, and at first, I thought I hit something walking backward, but as I looked around, there was nothing there, and I realized most likely it was a torn Achilles tendon. I immediately started saying, ‘Well, what does this mean?’ Because I had no idea. ‘How long will I be out? Will I ever be back?’”

Langer sustained this injury on Feb. 1 and immediately underwent surgery on Feb. 2. Funny enough, the operation Langer underwent was the same one doctors performed on New York Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers last Fall.

“That lifted my spirits, hearing he was back on the field throwing the ball after eight or nine weeks,” Langer said of Rodgers.

“That encouraged me that I may do something similar.”

Rodgers almost returned to the Jets late in the 2023 season after suffering a torn Achilles on the fourth play of the year against the Buffalo Bills. But the team decided not to rush him back since the Jets were not contenders.

Still, Langer, like Rodgers, defied expectations.

Achilles injuries usually require eight to 12 months of recovery and rehab. Yet, Langer will return in three months, thanks to him following a strict physical therapy plan.

Doctors placed him in a boot for more than a month, and then, by the end of March, Langer could stand on his own.

Shortly after that, in early April, Langer received clearance to hit balls.

Now, he has the clearance to try and win again on the PGA Tour Champions.


Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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