NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Brooks Koepka ended a forgettable PGA Tour season Wednesday when he withdrew from The Northern Trust with what he described as nagging hip and knee injuries.
Koepka was No. 97 in the FedEx Cup. He would have needed a good week at the TPC Boston, a course that tends to favor power players, to reach the top 70 and advance to the BMW Championship next week south of Chicago.
“My body’s nowhere near 100%,” Koepka said last week when he missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship, his sixth straight tournament in a late bid to revive his season.
Koepka began the year ranked No. 1 in the world and has dropped to No. 7, the product of injury and not having won in more than a year. He had a stem cell procedure during his short offseason last September. In his second start back, he injured his left knee in South Korea when he slipped on a wet slab of concrete and missed three months.
Then, he lost three months when golf shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And when he did play, it was not up to his standards.
His best chance was at the World Golf Championship in Tennessee, when he hit into the water on the last hole to lose any chance of catching Justin Thomas. The following week at the PGA Championship in San Francisco, he started the final round two shots behind in a bid to become the first player in 64 years to win the same major three straight times.
Even there, he required treatment on his hip during the second round when it locked up on him. On the final day, he faded to a 74 and tied for 29th.
The tour’s season ends in three weeks. The major season is ongoing in this reconfigured golf calendar because of the pandemic. Koepka will have a month off before going for a third U.S. Open title Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot in New York.
“Brooks is one of the biggest names in the game. We’ve all seen his physical struggles since last year,” Rory McIlroy said upon hearing the news. “It’s maybe never a good time, but it’s a better time than any other time to get it right. You know, take a few weeks off, try to get himself ready for the U.S. Open, and then the Masters coming up, as well.
“I think it’s smart on his part to do that and hopefully comes back healthy and comes back ready to play.”
The schedule he kept didn’t help with the injuries. Koepka played the last six weeks, dating to the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village, as he tried to move up in the FedEx Cup standings and get to the finale at East Lake in Atlanta.
Players who withdraw during the FedEx Cup playoffs are not replaced. Vaughn Taylor withdrew earlier, leaving 123 players in the field at the TPC Boston.