PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka banishes injury demons to deliver first major blow to LIV Golf
rooks Koepka’s comeback from a career-threatening knee injury is over, thanks to a fifth major title secured in unwavering style at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
Koepka delivered the first blow to the rebel LIV Golf League tour, as the first star to win a Major while competing in the Saudi-backed breakaway. The 33-year-old has banished the demons that led him to admit he ‘choked’ in the Masters final six weeks ago.
Koepka’s injury troubles began in 2019 with a torn patellar tendon, which quickly led to hip issues a year later. But in March 2021, Koepka slipped at home, dislocated his kneecap, tried to put it back in place and shredded several ligaments.
Some 26 months later, the Florida native is back with all the muscle control of the course that led to four Majors in 2018 and 2019 – and back with the leaderboard dominance that ditched him at Augusta.
“I guess if anyone doubted it, I’m back, I’m here,” said Koepka, seated next to the Wanamaker Trophy.
Just like in Augusta, Koepka took a one shot lead in Sunday’s final round. But this time there was to be no withering.
Koepka bristled to a closing 67 for a nine-under finish and his third US PGA crown, as Viktor Hovland tied second at seven under with Scottie Scheffler. Rory McIlroy tied for seventh at two under, with Justin Rose tying for ninth at one under.
“It was a lot worse than I had let on,” Koepka said of his injury rut. “It’s very difficult to explain; you can’t imagine how hard it is to get started. Maybe five, six people really know the magnitude of it, and it was difficult. The swelling didn’t go down until a few months ago.
“It’s been almost, what, two years?” The road has been long. (This win) is damn good, special. I think this one is probably the most significant of all with all the stuff that’s happened, all the crazy stuff in the last few years.
“But it feels good to be back and get No5. I want to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s working so far, I have a chance pretty much every time I do it .
Greg Norman hailed Koepka’s win as a shot in the arm for LIV, but the American star dismissed the tour general manager’s applause. When asked if he had spoken to Norman after his victory, Koepka replied: “I haven’t even spoken to my wife yet. It helps LIV, but I’m more interested in myself right now.