‘I’m finally healthy’: Did Brooks Koepka just send a message to the Masters field?

Captain Brooks Koepka of Smash GC lines up a putt on the 18th hole during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Orlando at The Orange County National on April 02, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.

Brooks Koepka won this weekend's LIV Golf Orlando.

Getty Images

It’s no secret Brooks Kopeka has not been the same player who won four of nine majors from 2017 to 2019.

Even before Koepka eschewed the PGA Tour for the breakaway rival circuit LIV Golf, something was amiss. In 2021-22, he made just nine of 15 cuts and hadn’t won since February 2021.

His finishes in the majors last season, the events he became known for dominating, were two missed cuts, a solo 55th and a tie for 55th. A far cry from three seasons prior when he won the PGA and finished top 5 in the other three.

The results from his first season with LIV Golf? Somewhat of a mixed bag.

He won the last of the 48-man field stroke-play events at LIV Golf Jedah but otherwise had just one other top-10.

His body was betraying him. Left knee surgery in 2019. A fall and another knee procedure a few months later. In 2021, it was his right knee, then his hip, then his wrist.

As was documented in his Netflix “Full Swing” episode, the frustration was clearly getting to him.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I can’t compete with these guys week in and week out,” Koepka said in the episode, which appeared to take place around the 2022 Phoenix Open.

When he finally won again at LIV Jedah in October, he seemed humbled by the reality he still had good golf left in him.

“I didn’t know if my career was over for a half-second,” Koepka said then. “So to be able to — I mean, I told Claude I wasn’t sure I was going to play. So it’s nice to be able to come back and be able to win.”

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As the calendar turned to 2023 though, it seemed like Koepka new-found return to form may have been an outlier. He never factored in the Saudi International and missed the cut at the International Series Oman, two Asian Tour events.

Then, as the Netflix episode debuted, there were rumors reported by the Fire Pit Collective that Koepka was rethinking his decision to join LIV Golf in the first place. Finishes of 31st and 29th in the league’s first two events of the year only stoked the rumor mill.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Koepka won this weekend at LIV Golf Orlando. With the win came a statement that didn’t happen in Saudi Arabia.

“You look at everything I’ve been through, I’m finally healthy,” he said after finishing on the 18th green. “It’s good to play some good golf. I get chills thinking what I’m capable of.”

At his postround press conference, he said this would be the first Masters since 2019 he’s played healthy. Koepka finished second that week to Tiger Woods and won the PGA the next month.

“I’m just excited to get there, honestly,” he said. “I’m ready to catch this plane and go up there.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.

 

 

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