Koepka doubt­ful for US Open with nag­ging knee prob­lem

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Golf - By James Cor­ri­gan

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

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