PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Bernhard Langer tore his Achilles tendon while exercising and had surgery on Friday, putting the 66-year-old German out of golf during a year he planned to play the Masters one last time.
Langer last year broke Hale Irwin’s record for PGA Tour Champions victories when he won twice to reach 46 titles on the 50-and-older circuit.
He is a two-time Masters champion, the first one coming in 1985, and was preparing for an emotional farewell to Augusta National in April. Masters champions have a lifetime exemption, and it’s possible Langer could still return next year for one last Masters.
“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,” Langer said in a statement through the PGA Tour.
“Throughout my career, faith and family have been my bedrocks, providing me strength and guiding me through difficult times. I will lean on both as I work towards a return to competition.”
It was not clear how long he would be gone, though typically surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon takes at least four months before walking.
Langer had a conference call Wednesday ahead of the Chubb Classic in Florida, where last year he won for the fifth time and tied Irwin’s record. He spoke of his last time going to Augusta.
“It’s going to be very emotional, especially Augusta, because it’s been a big part of my life,” Langer said. “I love the tournament. I love the golf course. I love what they do for the game of golf. It’s going to be a tough farewell for me walking up the 18th the last time in competitive circumstances.”
Among his two victories last year was the U.S. Senior Open, which gives winners an exemption into the U.S. Open. Langer also had planned to play at Pinehurst No. 2 in June.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf