Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 September 2020

Brooks Koepka 'feeling good' as injury comeback continues at Saudi International

World's top-ranked golfer is making his second appearance at the European Tour event, which will also be his second event since returning from injury

Brooks Koepka made his return from a three-month injury layoff at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Getty Images
Brooks Koepka made his return from a three-month injury layoff at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Getty Images

World No 1 Brooks Koepka is intent on making up for last year’s disappointing debut at the Saudi International when he returns to the tournament next week.

The American, who spent the past week in Dubai between events, finished tied-57th in the inaugural running last February, which was won by compatriot Dustin Johnson.

This year’s tournament takes place once more in King Abdullah Economic City at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, from next Thursday.

Koepka, 29, returned to competitive golf only last week, when he marked his comeback from a three-month injury lay-off with a tied-34th finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

“I’m feeling really good,” the four-time major champion said. “It’s going to be my second tournament since October, so I am excited to get back on the course and compete against some of the world’s best players.

“It’s never a good thing being injured, but I’ve come back from injury well before. In some ways it gives you a chance to recharge and start the new year fresh.”

Asked if the injury - a knee issue dating back to last May - had altered his mindset going into tournaments, Koepka said: “I’m playing to win. Once I’m on the course, I forget everything else and just play golf. I didn’t play my best golf here last year so I’m ready for a strong finish in Saudi.”

Having topped the world rankings since winning the PGA Championship in May for the second successive year, Koepka could relinquish his position this weekend to Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman, second in the standings, needs victory at the Farmers Insurance Open to usurp Koepka, but at the halfway point he sits tied-17th, six shots off the lead.

“It’s great to be world No 1, and I want to stay there," Koepka said. "But being No 1 is really a by-product of playing well, which is my first aim. There are lots of other world-class golfers playing well at the moment and [next] week is a good chance to win some valuable points to keep me at the top.”

On his ambitions for the year, Koepka said: “Right now, I just want to get back playing. I’m looking forward to a strong season and being in contention in all of the tournaments I play in, which come September will put me in a strong position for the Ryder Cup.

"As far as I am concerned, the Saudi International is the most important tournament in front of me right now.”

Updated: January 25, 2020 03:39 PM

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