Bernhard Langer is hopeful his injured thumb will not prevent him from mounting a successful title defence at this week’s Senior Open Championship.
The German, who triumphed at Carnoustie 12 months ago, underwent surgery after sustaining the injury whilst pressing the button at a pedestrian crossing, and is yet to recover full movement in his thumb.
Langer missed the cut at last week’s Open Championship, but is hopeful a return to Walton Heath Golf Club – the scene of his Ryder Cup debut 30 years ago – will inspire him to victory.
He said: “I had a torn ligament, and had surgery in March in New York. The doctor thought it should be okay after eight weeks but it wasn’t, and I developed arthritis in both joints. I’ve been having regular physiotherapy for the last six weeks or seven weeks, and it’s starting to feel better.
“I tried to play in Germany [at the Berenberg Bank Masters] and it wasn’t too bad at the beginning of the week, but then it got worse. So I took a few more days off before the BMW International Open, and then I took two full weeks off after that because the doctor thought it would be better, so I didn’t touch a club.
“Last week at The Open, it was pretty decent and it’s been about the same so far this week. My doctor’s with me and he’s given me physiotherapy every morning and every evening to try to get some movement back into it, and it definitely seems to be helping.”
Whilst Langer might not be at his physical peak this week, what has never been in doubt has been the German’s mental strength, as he proved by winning back to back Senior Majors last year.
The 53 year old will be hoping his will to win will enable him to overcome any physical discomfort he might experience.
Langer said: “The mental game is extremely important in golf. If you take two guys that have a similar technique and similar game of golf, the guy that is mentally stronger is always going to beat the other guy, every time. My mental strength has always been pretty good, and hopefully it can carry me through this week.”