‘I didn’t know if my career was over’: Emotional Brooks Koepka considered quitting

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka and announcer Dom Boulet on Sunday after Koepka's LIV Golf victory.


Brooks Koepka, forever confident, thought he was finished. 

Then Brooks Koepka broke down. 

He’s been on some three-year run, after some two-year run. First, the latter. From the 2017 U.S. Open to the 2019 Open Championship, they couldn’t play a major championship without at least thinking of ordering the trophy with a ‘B’ and a ‘K’ already engraved on it. Two U.S. Open wins. Two PGA Championships. Four other top 10s. And then?

Surgery on his left knee in August of 2019. A stem cell procedure on the knee, after a fall, two months later. The covid break in 2020. Kneecap dislocation and ligament damage in his right knee in March of 2021. A hip injury. A wrist injury. His body was running out of healthy parts. And his golf suffered. Over that stretch, he won once, at last year’s Waste Management Open

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Then Koepka won again, on Sunday in Saudi Arabia on the LIV Golf series, where he’s now playing his golf.

And Koepka got that winner’s interview. 

And damn right, he was emotional. 

“One of the big names out here,” on-course analyst Dom Boulet started on the LIV broadcast. “Even though you’ve won major championships, I feel this is an important win for you, given the year you’ve had.” 

“It is,” Koepka said. “The last two years have …”

He lowered his head.

“They haven’t been fun. So, it’s been a long road. I’m super excited. My whole team, we got the band back together, literally, a couple months ago. We got Claude back on the team; and Pete — I’ve worked with Pete very, very hard; and Jeff as well. So a shout-out to them. This is for them.”

“You know what, you’re a tough competitor,” Boulet said on the broadcast. “But you’re a little emotional right now.”

“Yeah, I mean it’s been — I didn’t know if my career was over for a half-second,” Koepka said. “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.”

Koepka hadn’t been trending toward Sunday’s finish, either. On the PGA Tour this year, he missed three cuts in eight events. In the majors, he didn’t play the weekend in half. With LIV, his best finish in five tournaments, with just 48-player fields, had been ninth, which came last week. 

Then Koepka won again. 

As he told Boulet, he re-enlisted Claude Harmon III as his swing coach. He’s continued work with short game coach Pete Cowen and putting coach Jeff Pierce.

And the left knee and right knee and wrist and hip started not to hurt as much. 

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And damn right, he was emotional. 

His winner’s press conference included this exchange:

“Brooks, could you speak about your own road to this win. It sounded like on the broadcast you had some doubts about your career. I know you’ve battled some injuries here going back a couple years. Where were you just when you started out with LIV in terms of your health, and then getting to this point?      

“I mean, it’s been before LIV, when I blew my knee out, and my foot was pointed that way, almost backwards and sideways. Credit to Dr. [Neal] ElAttrache. Throw his name out there,” began Koepka, describing his 2021 knee injury. 

“I still — I mean, eventually I’m going to have to have knee replacement in a few years, but I didn’t know what was — I wasn’t sure whether I could even move the same way and if I wanted to play if I couldn’t move the way I wanted. I’m fortunate to be in the spot that I’m in right now.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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