A few months ago, ahead of the British Open, Brooks Koepka raised a bunch of eyebrows and spawned a bunch of eyerolls when he said he doesn't practice for non-majors.
"I just practice before," Koepka said when asked why he performs so much better in the biggest events. The 29-year-old has four major championships to his name but just three regular PGA Tour victories. "Regular tournaments, I don't practice. When you see me on TV, that's when I play golf.";
At the time, that statement felt...braggadocious. Koepka, who comes off as one of sport's true straight-shooters, was basically saying that he'd be a threat to win every regular event—like he's been in every major—if only he practiced and prepared for them with the same intensity.
It also bordered on disrespectful to every golf tournament that isn't one of the big four, like he didn't deem the non-majors worthy of his time. If the Canadian Opens and Travelers Championships of the worlds were glorified tune-ups for the worthwhile tournaments, why should he waste his time practicing?
Turns out he wasn't practicing for another reason: he wasn't healthy enough to. Now he is.
Speaking to the media Wednesday ahead of the Shriners Hospital for Children Open—his first start of the season, and his first start since Rory McIlroy controversially beat him out for PGA Tour Player of the Year honors—Koepka revealed that he had stem cell therapy to address a partially torn patella tendon. One of the benefits of said procedure? He feels well enough to practice again.
"Been back hitting balls. I can finally practice again, which is nice, without pain," the world No. 1 said. "Last year, I didn't practice at all. I vocalized that, said I haven't practiced. I finally feel, this year, I can practice again. I think people forget, too, I also had a wrist injury."
Last season, without practicing "at all," Koepka became just the fifth player to finish in the top five of all four majors in a single season. He finished runner-up to Tiger Woods at the Masters, won the PGA Championship, took solo second at the U.S. Open and managed a T4 at the British Open despite a putrid putting week. He also won two non-majors in the wraparound campaign: the CJ Cup and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
If Koepka is to be taken for his word—that he accomplished all that without practicing, and that now he's preparing for all eventts like he prepared for the 2019 majors—every other professional golfer should be extremely concerned.