HONOLULU — Brooks Koepka hasn't been the same since he tied for third in the FedEx Cup final in August, and hasn't felt entirely healthy since last March.
He wouldn't rate himself full strength now.
Koepka returns to competition this week in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, his first tournament since he reinjured his left knee in South Korea at the CJ Cup. He said on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) his left knee "doesn't feel the same as my right."
"It probably won't for a while, but it does feel stable," Koepka said. "Leaving Korea and all the way up to about a month ago, it just didn't feel stable. It felt like it could either way. It could go left, out, back."
Koepka says he's had issues since March and just dealt with them. He still managed to win the PGA Championship for the second straight year and pick up his first World Golf Championship. During his short offseason, Koepka had stem cell treatment on his left knee because the patella tendon was partially torn.
Then, he was walking off a tee when he slipped on a wet piece of cement, went to brace himself from falling and reinjured the knee. He said his knee cap moved into the fat pad, which he described as "excruciating."
He had physical therapy in San Diego for most of December and says he started hitting balls right before Christmas. Koepka said he wouldn't have flown to the United Arab Emirates if he didn't feel healthy, and that his speed and everything else about his game were the same as before he was hurt at the CJ Cup.
"From that moment on, after a couple days of hitting balls and not feeling pain, it was like, 'OK, I could get back here and do this and finally play,'" he said.