Bernhard Langer has given the ‘thumbs-up’ that he is ready to resume his golfing career in his native Germany this week after a bizarre hand injury ruled him out of the game for the past three months.
The 53 year old two time Masters champion is back in action in the Berenberg Bank Masters on the European Senior Tour, a tournament he co-promotes with brother Erwin, at the Cologne Golf und land Club.
But Langer admitted he is delighted to be back in action of any kind following the injury to the ligament of the metacarpal joint on his left thumb which saw him miss the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in April as part of a three month enforced absence from the game worldwide, the longest he has been out of action throughout in his illustrious career.
“It has been a bit frustrating but the good thing is that everything has cleared up properly thanks to the excellent medical assistance I received both here in Germany and in America,” said Langer who won back to back Senior Major Championships in 2010.
“I practised a little bit last week and have played the pro-am here in Cologne with no ill effects so I will be good to go for the tournament.”
The injury occurred in late March when the three time Number One on the US Champions Tour stopped to press a button on a roadside crossing as he and his family were biking from their Boca Raton home in Florida down to the local beach.
Fearing the button was faulty, Langer pressed harder but damaged his thumb so badly that he could not pick up a club the next day. Medical assistance saw him immobilised in a splint initially before undergoing a range of motion exercises to restore the core strength.
Langer will feature in one of the most attractive three balls on the opening day of the tenth event on the 2011 European Senior Tour schedule, playing alongside Englishman Barry Lane, who was in the same Ryder Cup team as the German in 1993, and Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn who showed his game was in fine fettle with victory in last week’s De Vere Club PGA Seniors Championship at Slaley Hall to move to second on the Order of Merit.
Other attractive groupings sees Scotland’s Sandy Lyle, a winner on Tour in China in March, partner Australia’s Peter Fowler and Chris Williams of South Africa; while England’s Carl Mason, whose victory in Spain a month ago saw him become the most successful European Senior Tour golfer in history with 24 title successes, starts alongside another Australia/South Africa combination in Mike Harwood and John Bland.
Finally, the European Senior Tour is packed with players with an abundance of European Tour experience, and nowhere is that more in evidence than with the threeball who will tee off at 12.30pm tomorrow; Sam Torrance, Costantino Rocca and Tony Johnstone.
Between them, the Scot, the Italian and the Zimbabwean have contested an incredible 1,693 European Tour events in their careers with Torrance topping the pile at 706.