For a while, it looked as though Brooks Koepka was going to impose himself as a dominant force in golf. When he won the 2019 PGA Championship, it was the fourth major the American had landed in the space of about two years. Such was Koepka’s brutish long game, combined with a delicately effective putting ability, it felt as though he was going to scoop up majors for years to come.
Nearly three years on from that PGA Championship win, Koepka has not won another major championship in the time since. An unsavoury cocktail of injury woes, surgeries, and loss of form have resulted in Koepka dropping down the pecking order at golf’s elite level. His last win came in the Phoenix Open over a year ago, and it’s fair to say that he is a golfer in need of inspiration and resurrection.
Given his prior experience of winning major championships, it may be surprising to see Koepka so unfancied in the latest golf odds ahead of the Masters. Yes, he has suffered with injuries over the last year or so, but he is still a hugely talented golfer who knows what it takes to win the biggest tournaments. He has proven that on four occasions, and there’s no doubt that the major-winning form will return at some point soon.
Koepka is also hugely confident in his own abilities, and in many ways the lessons learned over the last couple of years through recovering from injuries and experiencing a dip in performance levels will help him become a more well-rounded player. At the highest level of golf, so much comes down to mental strength and the ability to cope with setbacks. Now is the time for Koepka to prove his mettle.
The Masters is one of the ones that has always eluded the 31-year-old. He finished tied for second in 2019 when Tiger Woods stunned the golfing world by winning his fifth Masters title. Koepka’s performance that week went under the radar for obvious reasons, but it will have given him confidence that he has what it takes to do well at Augusta.
This year, there is a sense that Koepka has some making up to do. Having just returned to golf after knee surgery, it’s fair to say that the American was not up to speed at last year’s Masters. He ended up missing the cut, which was the first time Koepka failed to feature in the final two rounds of a major he participated in since 2013.
It will be no easy feat to earn his maiden green jacket. After all, there are several players who are heading to the Masters with form on their side — Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler to name just a couple. Then you have the big names, the likes of Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, who will always be there or thereabouts when push comes to shove.
We all know what Koepka is capable of when he is in top form. The question is whether or not that form is a thing of the past.