For the first time in two months, Brooks Koepka will play a PGA Tour event as he makes his return following rehab on his left knee at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas next week. Koepka missed the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club and has not played on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship in August.
Koepka joins a slew of huge names participating in this year’s CJ Cup, which moved from South Korea to Las Vegas because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy will play alongside Koepka. Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Tommy Fleetwood are expected to be in the field as well.
Coincidentally, Koepka actually reinjured his knee at last year’s CJ Cup when he slipped on wet concrete. The knee has been a nuisance for nearly two years now — dating back to the start of 2019 — and has caused Koepka, who has nearly slipped out of the top 10 in the world, to miss a significant number of events.
It’s unclear whether there are long-term concerns here for Koepka, but the original explanation around his knee injury — around this time last year — was that it required stem-cell treatment. Though he played well in the 2018-19 season (and won three times), he said it bothered him for most of the second half of the season (he did not get treatment until after the season). He clearly hasn’t been right since the season-ending Tour Championship and has struggled with a game that just has not clicked in over a year.
Since last year’s Tour Championship in August, Koepka has 15 starts worldwide and just two top 10s. His only major championship start — at the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park — resulted in a T29 finish.
There are obviously preparations for the 2020 Masters — which will be played in just over a month — to consider for Koepka. He said on Wednesday that it has been a “challenging but productive two months of rehabbing my injury.”