Brooks Koepka on Player of the Year award snub: ‘I don’t play for awards. I just play to win’

Ryan Young

Brooks Koepka had an extremely impressive season last year on the PGA Tour.

The 29-year-old recorded three wins — at The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship — had nine top-10 finishes and missed the cut just once.

He showed out at all four major championships, too, finishing runner up at both the U.S. Open and The Masters, and in a tie for fourth at The Open Championship.

Naturally, Koepka quickly rose to the top of the World Golf Rankings — and still holds the top spot as he’s ready to kick off the 2019-20 PGA Tour season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open this week in Las Vegas.

Koepka, though, failed to secure the Tour’s top award. Instead, the Player of the Year award went to Rory McIlroy, who won the FedExCup for the second time in his career.

The seven-time Tour winner, though, said on Wednesday that the snub didn’t bother him.

“I don’t play for awards,” Koepka said. “I just play to win, win trophies, win tournaments. Simple as.”

He did make it clear, though, that he still believes he’s the best in the world — even if he doesn’t have the Player of the Year award to prove it.

“Yeah it would’ve been great, but I think everybody in this room knows — I mean, LeBron has only won four MVPs, and I’m pretty sure he’s been the best player for more than just four years,” Koepka said.

Rory McIlroy edged out Brooks Koepka for the Player of the Year award last season on the PGA Tour, despite Koepka’s three wins and nine top-10 finishes.
Rory McIlroy edged out Brooks Koepka for the Player of the Year award last season on the PGA Tour, despite Koepka’s three wins and nine top-10 finishes. (AP/John Bazemore)

Koepka reveals knee treatment, finally healthy

Koepka revealed on Wednesday that he underwent stem cell treatment on his left knee to repair a partially torn patella tendon, something he did immediately following the Tour Championship in August.

The treatment — which he said wasn’t technically surgery, but rather an injection into his knee — was anything but pleasant.

“I was watching it on the screen as they were doing it, and it was probably one of the most painful things,” Koepka said, via GolfDigest. “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. Trying to get strong again, rest it.

“That’s kind of how it went with it, doing a little rehab. The most important thing was to not walk with a limp. Those three days you’re kind of off your feet.”

The biggest issue Koepka had with his knee last year was not being able to practice regularly — something he said really hindered his ability to be ready to go at the start of a tournament. Often times, he said he was having to find his game during the week.

Now, though, Koepka said he’s nearly back to normal.

“I can finally practice again, which is nice, without pain,” Koepka said, via GolfDigest. “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 … 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.”

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