Brooks Koepka emerges from 'dark places' to return to winning ways

Brooks Koepka admitted he’d encountered “some dark places” before getting his career back on track with a second victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Brooks Koepka poses with the trophy after winning the the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The 30-year-old covered the last six holes at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona in five-under-par for a closing 65 and a one-shot win over fellow American Xander Schauffele (71) and Kora’s Kyoung-Hoon Lee (68).

It was four-time major winner Koepka’s first success since the 2019 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, having required knee surgery soon after that triumph and struggling with it since then.“Been in some dark places for about a year and a half, so it's nice to feel like I’m back,” admitted Koepka. “There was a period maybe for about two months where I just questioned whether I was ever going to be the same, whether I was even going to be somewhat remotely the same golfer that I ever was.

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“My knee, no matter how much work and pain I was doing with my trainer, it just felt like it wasn't progressing. And that's the frustrating part, when you feel like it's not going anywhere.“But we stuck with it. Those dark places, a lot of tears, questioning yourself, and in dark places mentally. You've got to come out of that. I'll tell you what, it takes a lot of effort just to get out of those places.”Referring to last year’s Memorial Tournament, which saw him close with an 80, he added: “I think that was the lowest moment probably. I was in excruciating pain. I was being told that my knee was still the same.

"The frustration of trying to play and knowing I'm not even close to what I'm capable of doing, I can't compete. I'm trying to compete, but I just can't. I can't swing the golf club like I want to.“But I didn't want to take the time off. I've done that a couple times where I tried to play through. I guess that's the heart. I just don't like to quit. I figured it would go away, to be honest, and I was completely wrong.”Jordan Spieth, the 2017 Open champion, finished fourth - his best effort for nearly two years - while Rory McIlroy closed with a 64 for a share of 13th spot, with Russell Knox tying for 53rd.

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