Brooks Koepka: Knee still isn't 100 percent but 'dramatically' better than at Masters

Brooks Koepka is making his first start since missing the cut at the Masters in hopes that his knee is improved and he can chase a third (...)

Brooks Koepka: Knee still isn't 100 percent but 'dramatically' better than at Masters

Brooks Koepka returns this week to the site of one of his bigger disappointments, but he couldn’t be happier to be at TPC Craig Ranch in Dallas.

“It’s just nice to be back playing, to be honest with you,” he said.

Koepka suffered a right knee cap dislocation and ligament damage that forced him to withdraw from the Players Championship on March 7 and undergo surgery. He returned to play at the Masters, which he deemed “very satisfying” just to get back, but wasn’t himself.

“I don’t enjoy missing cuts,” he said.

With the PGA Championship, a major he’s won twice (in 2018 and 2019), just a week away, Koepka said an additional month of rehab has helped, but made it clear that he’s still not 100 percent.

“I still can’t squat down, get into a catcher’s position or fully bend down,” he said. “You know, still be a while before I’m 100 percent. It’s dramatically better than it was at Augusta. You know, I feel like the strength is getting there. The mobility is getting there. I’m ahead of schedule. Long ways ahead of schedule of where I should be at this point, so I’m very pleased.”

Brooks Koepka stretches to line up a putt on the 14th green during the first round of the 2021 Masters Tournament on Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo: David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Koepka went through a winless spell last season, but returned to the winner’s circle at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February and then was in the thick of the trophy hunt at the WGC-Workday Championship at the Concession. He looked on his way to returning to the dominant force that claimed four majors and reached World No. 1. And then another injury setback.

Koepka said he hasn’t made any swing adjustments to accommodate for the injury, but he’s struggling to load on his right side.

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“I get off it,” he said. “That happens with the longer clubs, mainly driver. But everything from about 7-iron in, no problem.”

Koepka is making his sixth career start at the AT&T Byron Nelson, with his best result being a playoff defeat to Sergio Garcia in 2016. That, however, was at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas. This year, the tournament shifts to TPC Craig Ranch, where Koepka has memories he’s buried somewhere in the back recesses of his mind.

“I remember leaving disappointed,” he said more than once.

In 2012, TPC Craig Ranch was the site of Koepka flaming out of the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School. He wasn’t alone – Jordan Spieth was among the casualties. While Spieth took advantage of the sponsor invite route, Koepka wasn’t so fortunate and instead earned playing privileges on the European Tour’s Challenge Tour and worked his way up the golf ladder the hard way. It helped make Koepka the player he is today.

“I wasn’t nearly the same player I am today as back in ’12. Maybe I don’t get out here as quickly. You know, who knows? I could have gone through and failed in the final stage and still be stuck on mini tours. You never know,” he said. “It’s one of those crazy things. But it worked out, so I’m not going to complain.”

Nor is he complaining that his knee feels months ahead of schedule.

Source : Golf Week More   

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Jon Rahm on golfers skipping Olympics: 'I don't blame them. They're not making it easy'

Jon Rahm plans to compete in the Olympics, but he understands why Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott intend to skip it.

Jon Rahm on golfers skipping Olympics: 'I don't blame them. They're not making it easy'

Spain’s Jon Rahm plans to represent his country in the Olympics, but he understands why players such as Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott have announced they intend to skip the competition in Saitama, Japan, from July 29-Aug 1.

“The Olympic committee are not making it very easy for us to choose it, simply because up until not too long ago we couldn’t go to our site or tournament hotel until Wednesday and we had to stay in the Olympic Village until then,” he said. “As I understand from what I been told there is at least one- to two-hour drive to the golf course. That’s a lot of time to be in the car going to and coming back from the Olympic Village, and then you can only go to the hotel on Wednesday. Your family is not allowed. You’re not allowed to go to any other events. There are just so many restrictions.”

The Olympics were postponed last year due to the global pandemic. There have been continuing concerns whether conditions have improved enough for the Olympics to be played later this year. To avoid a COVID outbreak in the Olympic Village, strict policies have been announced.

AT&T Byron Nelson: Tee times, TV info | Matchups, prop bets

Rahm, 26, said he also understood why a player such as Danny Lee would decline his spot in the field to concentrate on retaining his PGA Tour card.

“I can understand why a lot of people are prioritizing the FedEx Cup events and great golf events,” said Rahm, noting that the golf in Japan falls in between the British Open and the WGC. “The Olympics are relatively new for the golf, and I don’t blame them,” he said. “In my case I want to play. It’s an absolute dream of mine to be an Olympian.”

He added: “I’ve been able to win championships representing Spain as an amateur in almost every imaginable level, and to bring back the gold medal would be something amazing.”

Rahm, who is the No. 3-ranked golfer in the world, is a lock to make the Spanish team. He said that despite the inconveniences he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

“Yeah, I want to play,” he said. “They’re not making it very easy, but I do want to play.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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