MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former world No. 1 golfer Brooks Koepka, who will attempt to defend his WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational title this week after which turn out to be the primary three-peat winner within the stroke-play period of the PGA Championship subsequent week, mentioned he nonetheless has ache in his left knee however will not resolve whether or not to have surgical procedure till after this season.
Koepka, who’s at present ranked No. 6 on the planet, hasn’t performed properly in his final three occasions, lacking two cuts and ending in a tie for 62nd on the Memorial. He shot an 80 within the fourth spherical of the Memorial, the worst final-round rating of his Tour profession.
Koepka, 30, partially tore the patella tendon in his left knee final yr. He had an MRI on the knee earlier than the Memorial earlier this month. “The tear needs to be worse to go beneath the knife, however we’ll see the way it goes,” Koepka mentioned. “We’ll see when my season ends and go get stem cell once more, most definitely, and determine it out from there.”
With just one top-25 end in 10 occasions within the abbreviated season, Koepka ranks 155th within the FedEx Cup standings, 1,753 factors behind chief Justin Thomas. The highest 125 gamers within the standings qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. After this week’s match, there are solely two occasions left earlier than the FedEx Cup Playoffs start on the Northern Belief at TPC Boston on Aug. 20-23.
“It is undoubtedly been irritating,” Koepka mentioned. “It is going to check you mentally, however on the identical time, I am taking a look at it as a problem and one thing the place I do know … it can flip round ultimately. It should flip round. You do not work that arduous for nothing. Beginning to see indicators of it. Now it is nearly going and doing it. Whether or not or not it’s this week, subsequent week, a month from now, two months from now, no matter it is going to be, it can repay.”
Koepka mentioned the knee damage has affected his swing and his conditioning program. He had stem-cell therapy on the knee after the season-ending Tour Championship in 2019, after which re-injured his patella tendon when he slipped on moist cement on the CJ Cup in South Korea in October. That induced him to take a three-month break from golf and miss the President’s Cup in Australia.
9 months later, Koepka mentioned his left knee does not really feel a lot better.
“It is going to get sore if I beat balls lengthy sufficient, and I’ve had some prolonged vary classes over the previous two weeks the place it has been five-plus hours,” he mentioned. “I am going to come again, I am going to ice it. It limits what I can do. I do not know learn how to clarify this properly, however I can not run. I can [but] I take these little steps and attempt to do it in a short time. That is type of my run proper now. Biking, I can do it like as soon as per week with out it actually flaring up and getting too painful. Cannot do a lot cardio. Nevertheless it’s undoubtedly modified loads of issues for me, that is for certain.”
After lacking the reduce finally week’s 3M Open, Koepka labored with short-game coach Pete Cowen for the primary time for the reason that Tour shut down on the Gamers Championship in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really feel like I am getting higher and higher daily,” Koepka mentioned. “I feel final week I noticed indicators of it, made some changes this weekend so far as simply seeing how scared I used to be to get on my left facet. … You’ll be able to battle by it on a regular basis, however nonetheless, ache will make you alter actually rapidly, and simply seeing the place I used to be. Made a couple of changes in my setup simply to type of assist ease it and assist get my physique by that.”