His résumé is full of major championship wins, and Brooks Koepka has famously announced that the regular tournaments are not a high priority for him.
So a couple of missed cuts towards the end of a long year that Koepka had his share of injury fights don’t seem like that big a deal, even with his TV match with Bryson DeChambeau coming up on Friday.
On the other hand, Koepka was in Houston a few weeks ago, hitting balls under the lights as it was getting dark, trying to solve the problems in a game that had been troubling for nearly three months.
“I’ve played badly for so long so I’m just trying to get my way out of this and find out,” said Koepka. “Hopefully we’ll get out on the other side soon.”
That’s what Koepka said at the World Wide Technology Championship in Mayakoba, where he missed the cut by 4 shots. A week later in Houston he missed the cut again, this time by 3 strokes.
DeChambeau insisted on poking fun at Koepka about the missed cuts to hype “The Match” that led to the 12-hole Made-for-TV encounter (4pm ET Friday, TNT) .
Since a tie for sixth place at The Open in July, Koepka has contested eight tournaments, with the best result of a tie for 22nd place at the BMW Championship. A wrist injury sustained when he hit a tree root during round three of the Tour Championship prompted him to retreat. It also briefly challenged the Ryder Cup, where he played four games and went 2-2.
Aside from an individual win at Whistling Straits on Sunday, an overwhelming United States victory over Europe, there wasn’t much for Koepka to upset about.
And yet he took part in three major championships and won his first tournament in more than a year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.
He followed in a tie for second place in the WGC Workday Championship and seemed to be betting on a strong Masters when he suffered an unusual accident at his house in March and injured his right knee in the process – he had been through 2019 struggling with problems in the left knee and 2020 – leads to a procedure.
He underwent an operation on March 16 to treat a dislocated kneecap and ligament damage. The injury, he said, happened while he was in Florida with his family. Koepka said he slipped and needed to get his knee back into position.
Koepka somehow returned to the Masters, where he was clearly in distress, and missed the cut. He also missed the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship a week before the PGA, but managed to hold his own on the major and in the final pairing with eventual winner Phil Mickelson.
In all of this, Koepka downplayed the problems and he managed to have a strong string of tournaments that included a tie for second place at the PGA, a tie for fourth place at the US Open, a tie for fifth place the Travelers Championship and a tie for sixth at The Open.
But it was only a fight for the next three months.
“I’m healthy now, so I can practice and do what I want. I was just grinding, man, ”he said the club head or you may not know exactly where your swing is or what you are doing. It’s just frustrating.
“I don’t think I’m playing as badly as I probably said, but the consistency just isn’t there, there are certain shots that just aren’t there. Not what I’m used to seeing is good . ” To put it another way. It’s been tough – I mean, injuries for two years. I had an operation on my right knee. The left knee is better now, but it wasn’t good for a while. You start making compensations.
“If my knee bends a little, I still don’t know how far it’s bent. If everyone has had an operation, you still don’t know where you are and you may be hesitant.”
Koepka had no plans to play the event in Mexico “but I won’t be sitting better at home,” he said. “Sometimes you find something, that one golf swing on the 17th and you have a feeling. You never know it could be a good year or a few months. It could just come from that one swing.”
Apparently Koepka was still looking for that swing in Houston.
That doesn’t mean the eight-time PGA Tour winner – he has the same number of wins as DeChambeau – won’t be up to the task on Friday.
Given who he is playing against and the relative amount of hostility that has built up throughout the year – despite their truce at the Ryder Cup – you can bet the four-time major champion treats the 12-hole exhibition almost equally.