SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Winless since the last time he was at the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale a little more than a year ago, Brooks Koepka isn’t happy with how far he’s fallen in the Official Golf World Rankings.
The 31-year-old is currently ranked 20th by the OGWR, his lowest standing since he dropped to 22nd after the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2017.
“That’s embarrassing to be 20th, I feel like,” Koepka said after Thursday’s first round. “A lot of it has to do with injury, man. I’ve been hurt, on the sidelines. Not playing, playing through injury, you can’t compete with guys out here.
“It’s nice to be somewhat healthy and get out here, and I mean, I’m not too worried about it, it will bounce back up.”
He dropped a spot to 18th after missing the cut at the Farmers Open two weeks ago. Koepka’s ranking has been on a slide since he was ranked first in early February 2020 after the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers. His lowest ranking in 2020 was 12th and 16th in 2021. His best finish this season has been a T-9 at the Hero World Challenge in December, but he’s missed the cut in three of the seven tournaments he’s played.
Asked to grade his health on a scale of 1-10, Koepka responded with “pretty damn healthy.” In the last few years, Koepka has been plagued by a strained right knee, a neck injury and a hip issue.
“You’re never a 100 percent,” he said. “No athlete’s ever 100 percent. But, like I said, if you’re not healthy, man, it’s not easy. But, at the same time, I mean there’s nobody out here that’s shooting to be No. 2 in the world. So, if you are, you’re probably playing the wrong — shouldn’t be playing.
“So, 19 spots to go.”
Koepka could take the first step toward climbing the rankings by repeating at the WM Phoenix Open. He finished the first round in second place after shooting a 5-under 66 thanks to six birdies. On Wednesday, Koepka called the course a “bomber’s paradise,” adding “if you can put the ball in play, you can make some good scores.”
That’s exactly what he did on Thursday, averaging 316.4 yards off the tee. He said tweaks he made recently at his home course, the Medalist Golf Club, have carried over to this week thus far.
“It’s one thing to do it at home back at Medalist and see it perform there, but to actually come out and drive the ball in a tournament and hit it how I wanted to, spin was great, flight was good, shape was great. So that was nice to see. I feel like I’ve been playing good, it’s just been the driver and just tweaks in the setup and it’s tough to play out of the rough at Torrey Pines.
“But, yeah, everything seems to be clicking and a lot earlier than what it’s normally been for me.”