Brooks Koepka on LIV move critics: ‘I don’t care, you can think what you want’ | D’Angelo

10/28/2022; Miami, FL, USA; Brooks Koepka plays his tee shot from the eighth tee during the first round of the LIV golf series season finale at Trump National Doral. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

MARANA, Ariz. – This is the Brooks Koepka we were used to when the four-time majors champion in golf was the talk of the town.

“I feel like my game is where I need to be. I’m very happy.”

Not that.

“I can’t keep up with these guys week after week.”

The former was starting Thursday, after Koepka’s Pro-Am and before the start of the LIV Tucson at Gallery Golf Club.

The latter comes from the Netflix documentary Full Swing, when a mentally challenged Koepka looked more vulnerable than he had since dominating the PGA Tour.

More:LIV Tour’s Brooks Koepka portrays the frail, defeated golfer in the Netflix series | D’Angelo

More:Brooks Koepka’s world rankings have fallen to another historic low

And then there was the question, when Koepka was asked how he would respond to those watching these documentaries and concluded that he joined the league funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia because he knew , that his game will never be the same, and believed that he could not compete on the PGA Tour.

“I don’t care. They can think whatever they want to think.”

Mentally, the man of laser-sharp focus and nerves of steel who spent 47 weeks ranked world No. 1 appears to be back after regaining confidence as his health improved.

Physically, that still has to assert itself. Across three events this year, Koepka tied for 27th in the 48-man field in LIV’s season opener in Mexico three weeks ago. He missed the cut and finished tied for 46th in two Asian Tour events.

Koepka got off to a good start in the desert on Friday, finishing with three birdies and a 2-under 71.

The result is that Koepka, a Palm Beach County native who now resides in Jupiter, falls out of the top 100 in world golf rankings (102) this week for the first time in nine years, partly because LIV isn’t eligible for ranking points, but also a Reference to how his game has suffered.

For Koepka, that shattered confidence was brought on by a lengthy battle with injuries that once made him ponder his future in the game.

And Koepka decided that when the cameras rolled, he would show that emotion and show that vulnerability and his true feel for his game.

“Listen, I played the villain role,” Koepka said Wednesday. “I’m always honest about where I am and how I’m feeling. Nothing changed about that. Just honestly how I felt.

“A lot of what was only portrayed in Golf as me. They missed a lot of it because of an injury. Ask any athlete who has ever suffered an injury. You lose a lot of confidence.”

Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of the operation after he dislocated his kneecap and damaged ligaments. The injury occurred 10 days earlier when he slipped at his family’s home in Florida.

The result was the removal of most of his kneecap.

Koepka attempted to play the Masters less than a month later. Predictably, he missed the cut.

“The world doesn’t know a quarter of what was going on or how bad it really was,” Koepka said. “Nobody has a clue. The first time an operation was performed.

“The top broke off and they had to be removed from the bottom. They had to be removed in four different places. A small piece of my kneecap is left.”

That was about a year and a half after Koepka underwent stem cell surgery on his left knee after struggling with a partially torn patellar tendon. That knee injury didn’t allow Koepka to properly shift his weight to his left side, aggravating a hip injury.

A month after stem cell surgery, Koepka was diagnosed with a labral tear and his left knee deteriorated again after he slipped on wet concrete at the CJ Cup in Nine Bridges, South Korea.

As impenetrable as Koepka was during his streak of four majors starting at the 2017 US Open, he became fragile after that last major title at the 2019 PGA Championship.

Koepka spent most of 2021 unable to fully bend his right knee, which resulted in him crouching on his left leg with his right knee fully extended to read a putt. And it led to two uneven years with far fewer highlights – a top 10 at the 2021 US Open, a T3 at the 2022 Phoenix Open, winning his first LIV event in October – as frustrations – the retirement of the 2021 Tour championship , who missed cut in two majors and finished 55th in two others last year.

The knee remains swollen, but Koepka says it’s the best it’s ever seen.

“Last year wasn’t nearly there,” he said. “Right now I’m exactly where I want to be. I feel as good as before. I can do things I did in 2019.

“Strength is beginning to return to where it needs to be. I don’t wake up feeling like this every day.”

The attitude is back. Will the game follow?

This article originally appeared in the Palm Beach Post: Brooks Koepka on LIV Golf move critics: ‘I don’t care’

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