The mean age for winning majors is 32 years, 143 days. Brooks Koepka does not turn 33 until May. He is thus still in the sweet spot and inclined at next week’s opening major of the season, the Masters, to remind the world of a talent that had the game by the throat before injury first struck in 2019.
He feels a little under golfed, this weekend’s LIV golf event in Orlando only the third of the season, but is injury free, the blight of torn patella tendons in both legs and a smashed right knee cap behind him. Koepka could barely stand a year ago when he chose to compete at Augusta just three weeks after surgery. It was a mistake. The missed cut that followed triggered a negative spiral that ultimately attracted the attention of the Netflix cameras, trained as they are on melodrama. The unique despair associated with professional injury was painfully captured.
Koepka revealed in “Full Swing” a vulnerability unrecognisable from the swaggering Spartan who scattered fields when harvesting four majors in two years from 2017. “I was just authentically myself. I’m going to give you what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling at any one time. Most people catch me on the golf course. That is a completely different side of me,” Koepka tells from his home in Florida.
“My competitiveness probably got the best of me, wanting to play and prove everybody wrong, prove to myself that I was okay. I can’t help myself. The surgery I had had never been done before. They pretty much told me recovery would be a year and a half. Three weeks later we were playing Augusta. I was just trying to figure out what routes to walk there. I couldn’t get down to read putts without kicking my right leg out.
“I’ve played this game for 28 years. I’m used to swinging a certain way. The perception of where you think you are at and the reality of where you really are is so different. I don’t have many swing thoughts. I just swing it how I feel it and just know it’s going to be pretty much in the same spot every time. But when you can’t get to those positions it’s tough. The coach is like ‘we need you back here’, but I can’t get there, that amounts to a lot of frustration.