Langer (knee) WDs from first Schwab playoff event

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Bernhard Langer on Thursday withdrew from the first event of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, the PowerShares QQQ Championship, because of a left knee injury, officials announced Friday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Langer, who withdrew before the round, is the two-time defending Charles Schwab Cup champion and starts the inaugural PGA Tour Champions playoffs atop the standings with 2,697,459 points.

Langer said he recently re-aggravated the injury at home doing his usual spinning routine. He had an MRI on Monday and wasn’t physically able to play any practice rounds ahead of his 12:17 p.m. starting time on Friday.

“If I'm going to do long-term damage, the last thing I want to do is try and play and do further damage and then I can't play next week or the following week, which that would really be bad if I can't play the Schwab Cup,” Langer said Thursday. “You know, the priority is to get my health. You can't play golf if you're not healthy. The game is hard enough when you're healthy, you don't need to be injured.”

Even with the withdrawal, Langer will remain atop the Charles Schwab Cup standings entering the second playoff event, the Dominion Charity Classic (Nov. 4-6). The winner of the PowerShares QQQ Championship will receive $300,000 and 600,000 points, and Langer leads his nearest challenger (Miguel Angel Jimenez) by more than 1.1 million points.

Langer has amassed $2,697,459 in earnings this season, which includes four victories and 16 top-10s in 19 starts. He is $1,172,222 ahead of Jimenez on the money list, which mathematically locks up his eighth money title in the last nine years ($975,000 in first-place checks remain).