AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Four-times major champion Brooks Koepka on Tuesday declared his nagging health issues a thing of the past as he gets set to chase a maiden Green Jacket at this week’s Masters in his third tournament back from a two-month injury layoff.
Koepka, who finished runner-up to Tiger Woods at last year’s Masters, had stem cell therapy injections in his left knee during his layoff to help repair a partially torn patella tendon and also had a cortisone injection in his ailing hip.
“Everything’s fine. I feel normal. Knee feels good. Hip, I haven’t had an issue with,” American Koepka said during a news conference at Augusta National Golf Club.
“Nice to have those two months rehabbing in San Diego and getting everything straightened away.”
The 30-year-old Koepka, who counts two U.S. Open titles (2017, 2018) and two PGA Championship victories (2018, 2019) among his seven PGA Tour wins, said he currently feels as good as he did while winning each of those majors.
In the 13 events Koepka played last season he managed just two top-10 finishes and eventually revealed that playing through injuries was the “whole reason” he struggled.
Since returning from his layoff, Koepka finished in a share of 28th in his first event back last month and then tied for fifth in his final Masters tune-up last week.
In each of his four Masters appearances, former world number one Koepka has dramatically improved from his previous start at Augusta National and now tries to keep that streak alive and go one better than last year.
“The one thing I’ve learned over the years is just where to miss your golf shots,” said the world number 12. “If you do get into trouble, there’s different angles to different pins.
“You watch guys, you talk to guys that have played here, and you really see those little nuances, those little differences in just hitting it to the same exact spot every time.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)