Tough Breaks

Bernhard Langer reveals how he really tore his Achilles—and he'll probably be hearing about it for a while

March 13, 2024

Kevin C. Cox

An Achilles tendon tear will cause Bernhard Langer to miss the Masters next month in what was to be his final competitive stroll around Augusta National. This much we knew. What we didn't know, however, was how the injury actually happened. And let's just say Langer might be hearing about it for a while from his peers.

The two-time Masters champ suffered the injury last month and initially offered this explanation for how it happened in a statement:

Yesterday, during training exercises in Boca Raton, I tore my Achilles tendon. I will have surgery today to repair the injury, which will cause me to miss time playing competitive golf as I recover.

Turns out, those "training exercises" were actually Langer playing pickleball. Yep, pickleball.

“I play all sorts of sports to stay fit, and this was part of my fitness regime,” Langer clarified on the Musings on Golf podcast, which was spotted by the Associated Press. “I was playing pickleball and somebody was trying to lob me. I did a few steps backward and hit an overhead, and as I landed on the ground with my feet I heard this huge ‘pop,’ very loud, like a gun shot. I knew right away it was a torn Achilles.”

That's rough. Langer added that he had surgery the following day and that he still plans to be at the Masters champions dinner.

So Father Time has been no match for this 66-year-old German who broke the career record for wins on the PGA Tour Champions last year. But all it took was a little pickleball? Of course, that's not on the embarrassment level of Dustin Johnson missing the Masters due to slipping on some stairs or Jim Furyk missing time once from a tooth-brushing injury, but you can see why Bernhard was initially reluctant to reveal what really happened.

But to show what a physical marvel he still is despite this setback, Langer says he hopes to return to action in May. Action on the golf course, that is. We're guessing his pickleball days are past him.