Golf News

Golfer Bernhard Langer says pickleball is keeping surgeons busy

2023 Masters

Bernhard Langer, known for his commitment to fitness, tore his left Achilles tendon while playing pickleball back in February in an incident that surprised the all-time leading winner in PGA Tour Champions history.

In fact, Langer said he assumed the game was a safe alternative to other sports, and even though he defied the odds by returning to action just three months later at the Insperity Invitational, he’s still advising others to tread lightly when it comes to playing the popular game.

“It shocked me because I thought pickleball was not a dangerous sport,” Langher said this week in advance of the KitchenAide Senior PGA. “I go snow skiing and do a lot of other things that seem a lot more dangerous than pickleball.

“When you talk to orthopedic surgeons they will prove me or anybody wrong. Fifty percent of their clientele is pickleball players, believe it or not. Has nothing to do with fitness. Nothing whatsoever.”

When a reporter suggested avoiding the sport, Langer responded, “Good move.”

2023 Masters

Bernhard Langer lines up his putt on the second green during the first round of the Masters. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network)

The two-time Masters champ will be among the field of 156 golfers at Harbor Shores Resort, Benton Harbor, Michigan, which is hosting for the sixth time since 2012.

As for his injury, Langer said he heard anecdotally that many friends needed nearly a year to recover, but he was thrilled to pop back up quickly with the help of a physical therapist.

In terms of how the injury occurs, it’s more about the motion than it is the fitness of the athlete.

“Yeah, whether you’re fit or not you can tear your Achilles any time. Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles, and baseball and football players and bobsledders, anybody, and they’re very, very fit, believe me,” he said. “The bobsled on ice when they push the bobsled, two men, four men, and then they jump in and they’re as fit as any athlete in the world, and they tear the Achilles more than anyone in the world. It’s that motion, just putting that pressure on it.”

During his recovery, Langer shared a nervous moment when his therapist instructed him to get directly up from a seated position.

“I was scared. You know, I was non-weight bearing for a while, and then my PT, one day we were doing the hour session and sits me in the chair and says, get up. What am I holding on to? No, get up. I said, not sure I can do that,” Langer recounted. “And it’s not me….


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