Golf

Brooks Koepka Finds Himself in a Lot of Trouble Right Now

Brooks Koepka has had a rough go of it lately. Since the restart of the PGA Tour season, he’s missed two cuts, nearly missed another and has only finished inside the top 30 once. His caddie tested positive for COVID-19, which forced him to withdraw from the Travelers Championship, and he’s been battling a knee injury for quite some time. These aren’t the kinds of things that someone sitting 29 spots out of the FedEx Cup Playoffs needs right now.

Brooks Koepka has been battling knee issues for quite some time

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At the end of last season, Brooks Koepka underwent stem cell treatment to repair a torn patella tendon in his left knee, an injury he said had been bothering him for most of 2019. After a few months off, he made his 2019-2020 PGA Tour debut in October at the CJ Cup but re-tore the tendon after slipping on some wet concrete in South Korea, which cost him another couple of months.

Koepka often downplayed the injury but has finally admitted that it’s no better now than it was last year. He got an MRI ahead of the Memorial and told Golf Digest that it’s still in pretty bad shape but that it’s not going to stop him from playing tournaments.

“Just wanted to check on it, see where it’s at. We got the results right after Korea, and then we just wanted to check, and nothing is improved, it’s still the same. So we’ll figure it out when we’re done.”

Brooks Koepka

His season might be done sooner rather than later if he can’t start putting quality rounds together.

Brooks Koepka has just one top-10 finish in 2020

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Before the PGA Tour shut down in March, Brooks Koepka wasn’t having the greatest season. He did card a top-20 in Abu Dhabi to start the year but then finished tied for 34th in Saudi Arabia before returning to the PGA Tour. He finished tied for 43rd at the Genesis Invitational, missed the cut at the Honda Classic, and then tied for 47th at Bay Hill.

Upon the restart of the season, he tied for 32nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge and then carded his only top-10 of the year, tying for seventh at the RBC Heritage. He then withdrew from the Travelers when his caddie tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the cut when he returned two weeks later at the Workday Charity Open. He barely made the cut at Muirfield the following week at the Memorial and finished tied for 62nd after shooting 80 in the final round.

Needing a birdie on a reachable par-5 to make the cut at the 3M Open this past week in Minnesota, Brooks Koepka missed the fairway to the left on his drive. He then had to lay up and couldn’t get his wedge to within 30 feet on his third shot. He two-putted for par for his third missed cut of the year, the same amount he had in 2018 and 2019 combined.

He’s 154th in the FedEx Cup standings and needs a strong couple of weeks

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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Heading into this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Brooks Koepka sits in 154th place in the FedEx Cup standings, 82 points behind No. 125, Scott Stallings. Only the top 125 get into the playoffs and there are just three events left before the Northern Trust: this week’s event, the PGA Championship, and the Wyndham Championship.

The good news for Koepka is that he’s the defending champion of this week’s World Golf Championships event at TPC Southwind. So he obviously knows how to win on this golf course. But this is a very tough field and he’s clearly not at 100 percent.

The better news might be that the season’s first major championship is next week and there’s been nobody better in the majors in recent years than Brooks Koepka. He’s won four of the last 10 and his finished sixth or better in four others in that same span. He just seems to hit another level in the majors and the two-time defending PGA Champion will need to turn it on yet again at Harding Park if he wants to save his season.

If he doesn’t want to make the last-ditch effort to get into the playoffs at the Wyndham Championship, it’s imperative that he has strong showings this week and next. And if he wants any chance to get into the top 30 for the Tour Championship, it’s going to take some top-five finishes or maybe even a victory to reach that goal.

Brooks Koepka begins the most important stretch of his season this Thursday as part of a trio that also includes Patrick Reed and Viktor Hovland.