Four-time Major winning Brooks Koepka has responded to being snubbed by his fellow PGA Tour peers after Rory McIlroy was voted ‘2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year’.
McIlroy’s choice for the award following the close of the 2018/19 PGA Tour season came as somewhat as a surprise but then the No. 1 vote for the Northern Irishman also reflected just how popular he is on the PGA Tour.
This is in stark contrast to the ‘stone cold’ demeanour Koepka exhibits, whether it be inside or outside the ropes, and this attribute was no more evident when the American was quizzed on being overlooked for the ‘award’ ahead of this week’s Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas, with the $7m event Koepka’s first on the 2019/20 PGA Tour schedule.
“I don’t play for awards, I play to win. To win trophies, to win tournaments,” said Koepka.
“Yeah, it would have been great, but I think everyone in the room knows LeBron James has only won four MVPs and I’m pretty sure he’s been the best player for more than four years.”
The current World No. 1 revealed at the TPC Summerlin news conference that he played through injury last season, one that required treatment following the Tour Championhip in August, won by McIlroy
“I had some stem cell done on my knee. My patella tendon was partially torn, so just rehabbing that,” Koepka said.
“I spent the first probably three, four weeks just rehabbing that and been back hitting balls.
“It wasn’t technically surgery; it was stem cell. Got to go in there and inject it.
“I was watching it on the screen as they were doing it and it was probably one of the most painful things. I was screaming when they did it.
“I limped out of there. I was limping for probably two, three days after, and then it’s just about trying to grow the muscles around it. Try to get strong again, rest it. That’s kind of how we went with it, doing a little rehab. The important thing was to not walk with a limp. Those three days you’re kind of off your feet.”
And thanks to rehab work, Koepka is confident the procedure has worked.
“I can finally practice again, which is nice, without pain,” he said.
“Last year I didn’t practice at all. I mean, I vocalized that, said I hadn’t practiced. I finally feel this year I can practice again. I think people forget, too, I also had a wrist injury. I was just coming back off that. I still don’t know, I’ve only got so many shots left.
“If I can come back and be healthy, that was the important thing. I finally feel good enough where I can actually practice and feel prepared coming into golf tournaments.”
Koepka, who remains atop the World Rankings, is making his fifth start at the Shriners. He finished second in his last appearance in the event in 2017.