Koepka doubtful for US Open with nagging knee problem
Brooks Koepka’s participation in next month’s US Open has been thrown into doubt after the American pulled out of this week’s Northern Trust Open with a lingering injury to his left knee.
The PGA Tour has decided to bill the scenario as Koepka’s season being over, because at 97 in the FedEx standings the four-time major winner now has no chance of getting into the top 70 who qualify for next week’s second event, the BMW Championship.
With the Tour Championship taking place the week after in Atlanta, with its $15million (£11.4 million) winner’s cheque on the line, the curtain will be brought down on the Tour’s 2020 campaign, with the wraparound 2021 season beginning in California a week later.
Yet as there is the little matter of the US Open at Winged Foot in the third week of the September and then the Masters in November, it is absurd to suggest that those events could not still define Koepka’s year.
However, there are genuine fears that the 30-year-old could miss his second major in four years because of a problem that refuses to go away.
Koepka was only two shots behind going into the final round of the US PGA Championship two weeks ago – as he went for a historic third Wanamaker Trophy – before tailing off into a tie for 29th.
But despite the world No 7’s indifferent form of late, he would still be one of the favourites going into America’s national championship, having won it twice and finished second in the past three years.
Rory McIlroy wished his rival well in his recovery attempt. “Brooks is one of the biggest names in the game and we’ve all seen his physical struggles since last year,” McIlroy said. “It’s never a good time, but it’s probably smart. He’s just played six or seven weeks in a row, which takes a toll on your body anyway. Hopefully he comes back healthy and comes back ready to play.”
McIlroy will be in action at TPC Boston, looking for his third win at the venue. Tiger Woods is also in a field boasting 19 members of the world’s top 20.
Major concern: Brooks Koepka’s preparations have been hit by a long-term injury to his left knee