Brooks Koepka underwent surgery on his right knee on March 16 to repair ligament damage and a kneecap dislocation. Just three weeks later, the 30-year-old says he’s not only ready to play the Masters, but to win the major.
Koepka hasn’t played since his surgery, but arrived at Augusta National on Sunday and practiced on the course early this week.
Oddsmakers show Koepka respect at Masters
While Koepka skipped the Players Championship and Honda Classic after injuring his knee earlier in March, he says he went right back to hitting as soon as possible after his procedure.
“Seven days out of surgery, I was hitting balls,” Koepka told reporters. “The goal was to play Augusta and so we were going to see if we could play … we were hopeful we were going to be here. A couple of bad days or anything like that, it could set you back quite a while. It’s been seven-plus hours every day in rehab.”
Koepka currently ranks 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He has won four majors – twice each at the US Open and the PGA Championship – and finished in a tie for second at the 2019 Masters.
That pedigree makes Koepka an instant contender at the Masters this year, even if he’s not yet completely healthy. While DraftKings Sportsbook isn’t ranking him with the likes of Dustin Johnson (+950) and Bryson DeChambeau (+1100) just yet, the sportsbook has made Koepka a +2800 pick to win at Augusta – the ninth-best odds on the board.
Speedy return defies expectations
Koepka says he’s coming to the tournament with every expectation of trying to win his first green jacket.
“I feel I can win,” Koepka told reporters. “I’ll play. I’ll be all right. If I knew I was going to finish second, I wouldn’t have shown up.”
Initial reports, including one from analyst Brad Faxon, suggested that Koepka’s injuries were serious and that he would miss an extended period of time.
“I’ve heard, you know, patella injury, post collateral ligament, PCL. I’ve dealt with multiple ACL injuries, and I’ve heard rumors he’s out for six to eight months,” Faxon told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio on March 23. “So I don’t think the Masters has a chance.”
Koepka issued a delayed response to that report with a tweet of his own earlier this week.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) April 4, 2021
The 30-year-old Koepka began his practice at Augusta National on Sunday, playing four holes with caddie Ricky Elliott.
Koepka hasn’t specified how he injured his knee, though he says that it wasn’t golf-related.
“An accident happened while I was with my family over the weekend,” Koepka told Golfweek after the injury occurred.
The 2021 Masters begins on Thursday, April 8. Dustin Johnson comes in as the defending champion and the favorite to win his third major title.