ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL

Players 2021: Brooks Koepka withdraws from TPC Sawgrass due to right knee injury

By Ryan Herrington  

Brooks Koepka. Sam Greenwood

If you thought Brooks Koepka had turned a corner on the injury front, think again. On Sunday, the PGA Tour announced that the four-time major winner had withdrawn from next week’s Players Championship due to an ailing knee, this time his right one.

“Brooks strained his right knee and he is scheduled to further consult with doctors this week to receive a more extensive evaluation and outlook,” said Blake Smith, Koepka’s manager, in a release from the tour. “We will be able to provide additional updates and information as we learn more.”

Exactly when he strained the knee is unclear. Koepka, 30, played at last week’s WGC-Workday Championship, and while complaining of neck pain during the course of the tournament, he still managed to finish tied for second. And that was two starts after winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open, his eighth career PGA Tour win, but first since July 2019.

The announcement comes just weeks after Koepka seemed to have finally gotten past an injury to his left knee that had forced him to miss the FedEx Cup Playoffs last summer, the U.S. Open in September and the start of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season. Koepka had been dealing with pain in the left knee—specifically a torn left patella—since the 2019 Tour Championship, an issue that also caused trouble with his left hip. Koepka had undergone muliple stem-cell treatment to try to treat the knee, which he reinjured at the 2019 CJ Cup. Koepka's struggles continued into 2020, a year in which he failed to win a tour title and was rarely in contention, falling all the way to No. 12 in the World Ranking.

Last month at TPC Scottsdale, Koepka noted that the injury had become a big enough issue where he wondered if he ever might get back to playing to the form in which he'd claim the No. 1 spot in the World Ranking.

“It’s been a wild ride for the last year and a half and very frustrating,” Koepka said after his win last month. “I’ve had moments where I didn't know if I was going to be the same, if I could even come back.”

Koepka has been slated to play in a featured group at TPC Sawgrass with Patrick Reed and Jon Rahm. He will be replaced in the field by Anirban Lahiri unless a non-exempt player wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational.


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