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Pickleball injury forces golfer Bernhard Langer to miss The Masters

Veteran golfer Bernhard Langer was due to play at The Masters for the final time this year, but a pickleball injury derailed his hopes of competing at next month’s tournament.

The 66-year-old Langer, who won the green jacket in 1985 and 1993, would have been making his 41st appearance at The Masters had he not torn his Achilles while playing pickleball.

“I play all sorts of sports to stay fit and this was part of my fitness regime,” Langer told the Musings on Golf podcast.

“Somebody was trying to lob me and I did a few steps backward and hit an overhead,” he added. “As I landed on the ground with my feet, I heard this huge pop, very loud, like a gun shot.

“I knew right away that it was a torn Achilles because I had seen it happen to other people playing basketball and other sports.”

Pickleball has surged in popularity in North America in recent years, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between 2018 and 2021, USA Pickleball membership nearly doubled, and a 2023 report estimated that there were 8.9 million players over the age of six in the United States.

It can be played in singles or doubles on a 20-foot-by-44-foot court and is an amalgamation of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Langer said that he has been making “very good” progress since undergoing surgery and will attend the annual champions dinner at Augusta National next month. He plans to return to golf at the Insperity Invitational in Houston, Texas, at the start of May.

The Masters, the first golf major of the calendar year, will take place between April 11 and 14 in Augusta, Georgia.

CNN’s Issy Ronald contributed to reporting.

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