KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. Brooks Koepka wasn’t just in pain from poor putt that cost him a chance at his third PGA championship win and fifth major title. He was in pain from his injured right knee, which he had to protect, and was hit a few times when fans sank him and eventual winner Phil Mickelson in a rough, sometimes frightening scene on the 18th fairway of the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island .
“Yeah, it would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury,” he said of the scene on the final hole. The fans congratulated 50-year-old Mickelson on becoming the oldest great champion in golf history. “Got hit in the knee a couple of times in this crowd because no one really gave an s — in person. But if I’d been fine it would have been cool. It’s cool for Phil. But to be beaten up a few times is not exactly my idea of fun. “
Koepka, who finished second with Louis Oosthuizen, has recovered from an injury he sustained in March that required surgery. He slipped while on vacation with his family and had to undergo a procedure to put his kneecap back on. He has been dealing with it ever since.
All week at the PGA Championship, he carefully bent down to read putts and couldn’t get deep enough to read them the way he normally would. Earlier this week, he said his doctors told him he was six months away from a full recovery, although he insisted his time span was shorter. So he wasn’t happy with what had happened on the last Sunday of Loch.
Even Mickelson, who accepted the Wanamaker Trophy after the round, called the scene “annoying”.
“”[I was] I don’t think anyone really understands until you get out of surgery how – I mean, even when I was doing rehab and five people were on your knee. you get a little nasty. As if I don’t mind waiting or being in that crowd but getting mine – I don’t know, it felt like someone tried, I don’t know what the deal was, but it’s what it is is. [I’ll] put it in the ice today. It feels like s — right now. “
Koepka wasn’t alone in his struggle to get through the crowd.
“Somebody jammed [Koepka’s caddie] Ricky [Elliott]”Said Koepka.” Ricky inadvertently stopped because he was drilled in the face and then I was hit because he was stopped so quickly. There were so many people there. “
Koepka had said all week that his knee was getting better and better.
“It felt great,” he said. “Honestly, the knee really did it. The knee wasn’t a problem. I was able to push it off and I haven’t had a shot this week that I felt I couldn’t push off. It definitely felt like that on Am it was strongest, probably until the last time. I don’t know what anyone tried, but if that hadn’t happened I’d say it felt really good, to be honest. “
Koepka still had the chance to force a playoff on the last hole. He should have made his 22-foot boat for birdie and Mickelson had three putt out of 15 feet. None of these things happened; Koepka missed and made two puttings for Par and Mickelson for his sixth major title.
Koepka’s tap-in for par was his 27th and final putt of the day, finishing 59th on the greens.
“How bad I putted for the last two days,” said Koepka, explaining what went wrong this week. “Actually three days. It felt like I missed myself. I’ve never felt comfortable and you won’t win if you do.”