The Masters: Brooks Koepka pleased to be healthy for Green Jacket challenge

Brooks Koepka insists he has overcome any nagging concerns over knee and hip injuries ahead of the Masters – his third tournament back from a two-month injury lay-off.

The 30-year-old American, who finished runner-up to Tiger Woods last year at Augusta National, had stem cell therapy injections in his left knee during his hiatus to help repair a partially torn patella tendon and also had a cortisone injection in his ailing hip.

Koepka, who missed the US Open in September, says he physically feels as good as he did while winning each of his four majors.

“Everything’s fine. I feel normal. Knee feels good. Hip, I haven’t had an issue with,” said Koepka.

“Nice to have those two months rehabbing in San Diego and getting everything straightened away.”

Koepka’s run of poor health began at last year’s CJ Cup when he slipped on wet concrete and injured his knee.

The world No 12 says being “lazy” with his rehabilitation contributed to further health complications, specifically with his left hip which impeded his chances at the PGA Championship in August.

“The one thing I regret is not really doing the right things,” he added.

“I don’t want to say I was slacking, but I didn’t put the effort I needed to do rehab. And that’s on me, so I’ve got to live with that.”

Koepka, who managed just two top-10 finishes last season, finished in a share of 28th at the CJ Cup – his first event back last month – and then tied for fifth at the Houston Open last week.

The former world No 1 has improved on each of his previous visits to Augusta and is hopeful he can continue that trend, despite the major falling outside its usual slot.

“The one thing I’ve learned over the years is just where to miss your golf shots,” he said. “If you do get into trouble, there’s different angles to different pins.

“You watch guys, you talk to guys that have played here, and you really see those little nuances, those little differences in just hitting it to the same exact spot every time.”

Meanwhile, Koepka praised pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau for the progress he has made with his power-game approach as his fellow countryman contemplates including a 48‑inch driver in his bag.

“The longer you hit it, obviously it becomes a little bit more difficult to put it in the fairway. Your misses become a little bit wider. I have no idea. If he wants to putt 48‑driver in, good for him.

“I mean, it’s going to be an advantage. Length is always an advantage. He’s done a good job of working. He’s worked his tail off to hit it that far. It’s worked for him, so..”.

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November 10, 2020, 7:00pm

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