Brooks Koepka feels ‘great’ in return from latest injury

Brooks Koepka said he finally has his “body squared away” as he makes a third return from an injury-related hiatus in 14 months.

Koepka hasn’t played since missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship. He said Tuesday that he suffered a partial tear in the labrum of his hip at the previous week’s PGA Championship and has spent the past two months resting and rehabbing.

Koepka makes his return at this week’s CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, an event he won in 2018 but withdrew from last year after aggravating a knee injury. He received a cortisone shot in Boston and then spent most of the past eight weeks rehabbing in San Diego.

Planning to play the CJ Cup and the Houston Open ahead of next month’s Masters, Koepka said he only began swinging a golf club again last week but fully intends to be competitive at Shadow Creek. The event was moved from Jeju Island in South Korea due to COVID-19.

“It’s the best I’ve truly felt in so long,” he said Tuesday. “I didn’t realize last year how limited I was from swinging – not being able to get on my right side to my left side because of it. I really do feel great right now.”

Koepka underwent a painful stem cell procedure shortly after the Tour Championship in 2019. He returned for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October, missing the cut, and then withdrew from his title defense at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges after slipping on concrete and aggravating the knee injury.

Koepka took another three months off, but acknowledged the knee never returned to full strength. As he struggled with his form before and after the Tour’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Koepka said the hip issue got progressively worse as he compensated for the knee until suffering the partial tear at the PGA Championship.

He said he feels “a million times better” than when he attempted to return from the knee injury in January. Koepka said his rehab has been focused on building strength around his hip so he doesn’t have to undergo surgery that would sideline him for nine months.

“I really had no idea how bad I felt through the whole year,” Koepka said. “Just one of those things where if you’re not getting any weeks off to actually treat it, it’s hard to treat it on the road and do everything you need to do. But we’ve got it handled now.”

Koepka began the year ranked No. 1 in the world but has slipped to 11th. He has played in 13 events in 2020, posting only a pair of top 10s while finishing T29 at the PGA Championship and withdrawing from the U.S. Open.

He said the injuries were “the whole reason I played like crap.”

Koepka said there is time to still make 2020 productive on the golf course.

“I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything,” he said. “I feel good now, so I’m just pleased to finally feel good. Still got a couple events and then Augusta.

“You know, year’s not over.”

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