Both Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka had problems with their knees and form when entering the major tournament organized by the Professional Golf Association of America (PGAA).

The PGA Championship kicks off today, May 20 at Ocean Court, par72 on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Johnson last week dropped Byron Nelson of the PGA Tour because of a bad left knee. This problem caused him to have surgery more than 18 months ago, but it cannot be completely cured. Koepka was on the operating table in March due to a damaged ligament in his right knee and a herniated patella. The doctor said he needed another six months to fully recover.

Johnson sits and waits for the tee shot on the 11th hole of the Ocean Course before the PGA Championship on May 19.  Photo: AP

Johnson sits and waits for the tee shot on the 11th hole of the Ocean Course before the PGA Championship on May 19. Image: AP

“I can handle the pain. It’s important whether I can hit the ball or not. And even though my physical condition is not 100%, I can still hit. And because of that, I’m still playing the PGA Championship this week,” Koepka said. This American golfer has won eight PGA Tour titles, including four majors, including two consecutive years of winning the PGA Championship (2018, 2019).

“Last week, my left knee was moving abnormally, so I went in for an MRI. Everything was fine. After the scan, my doctor and my personal therapist also discussed a plan to make it more stable,” Johnson said when media exposure before the PGA Championship on May 19. “The surgical site has been painful occasionally for the past six months. But now I am healthy and ready to fight this week,” he updated more about his condition.

Johnson is 36 years old, owns two majors in 24 PGA Tour titles. He is at the top of the world golf rankings (OWGR), 12 places above Koepka.

After returning to T8 at the Genesis Invitational in February, Johnson attended six events, including being eliminated during a Masters title defense in April and not finishing in the top 10 overall for the rest of the five tournaments. He could lose OWGR number one, if he doesn’t finish in the top 5 and Justin Thomas wins the PGA Championship.

Koepka first reached the top of OWGR in October 2018 with 47 weeks of accumulation in this position. More than three months ago, he won the PGA Tour for the eighth time, at the Phoenix Open. After that, the American player born in 1990 went to the right knee surgery table. Re-appearing at the Masters 2021 last month, Koepka limped on the court, unable to squat to find a putt as well as crouched to get the ball out of the hole and was cut after two rounds. This is also the result of Koepka in Byron Nelson last week.

Koepka still suffers from the nagging pain that kept him from squatting at the Masters in March.  Photo: Golf Digest

Koepka still suffers from the nagging pain that kept him from squatting at the Masters in March. Image: Golf Digest

Besides physical and form problems, Johnson is also vague about the specialized pitting weapon – the putter – for his journey to find the first PGA Championship of his career. “TaylorMade”, Johnson answered the question “what brand of putter do you use” on May 18. “I understand, but which line specifically,” the reporter continued. “Honestly, I don’t know the name. Only TaylorMade,” Johnson replied.

Even so, he still describes the putter in use as having a “silver top, white handle”. Thereby, the American golfer indirectly mentioned the removal of the black putter line “Spider Itsy Bitsy Limited” with the same company. He and this tree won 13 PGA Tour championships, including the Masters 2020 in November last year.

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