By Len Ziehm

OCALA, FL. – Yes, I know that there has been some monumental golf news  the last few weeks – Nelly Korda winning five LPGA tournaments in a row and Scottie Scheffler getting four wins and a runner-up finish in his last five starts, and both winning major titles 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.

Photos by: Greg and Beverly Wise – Ignite Golf Network

Langer is 66 years old.  He won three Masters (1985, 1993) and 42 times on the DP World Tour and three times on the PGA Tour in addition to his 46 Champions victories.

Langer took a tumble Langer 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.’’

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

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.’’

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 stretngth, which I didn’t want to do.’’

“I got up with no issues,’’ he said, and 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.

“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.

Len Ziehm

Len has been covering golf for over 56 years. He was the golf columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 41 years and has been in the same role for the Daily Herald and several regional newspapers since 2009… Len is also a regular contributor to the Chicago District Golfer magazine and his travel pieces are regularly published in Pro Golf Weekly, New England.Golf, eSouthernGolf and the Ohio Golf Journal. His works for all publications are available at It is in its 15th year of operation and has been enhanced by the photography provided by his partner Joy Sarver… An inductee into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004 (for his reporting and youth coaching, not as a player), Len was also inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. He is also on the Advisory Board of the International Network of Golf, is a lifetime member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a member of the Golf Travel Writers of America.