Leading contender Brooks Koepka withdraws from 2021 The Players Championship
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Leading contender Brooks Koepka withdraws from 2021 The Players Championship



Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am field, pulling out of the tournament on Sunday afternoon.

Koepka, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, was preparing to make the start this week in search of a first Players title. Koepka has been dealing with knee issues for several years now, but they’ve been mostly on his left knee, including having surgery to repair a partially torn patella tendon in August 2019.

“Brooks strained his right knee and he is schedule to further consult with doctors this week to receive a more extensive evaluation and outlook,” said Blake Smith, Koepka’s manager, in a statement through the PGA Tour. “We will be able to provide additional updates and information as we learn more.”

In his last start, Koepka finished T-2 at the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession.

After winning in Phoenix, he talked about the excruciating pain he has dealt with on the course because of the injury.

“It was a lot worse than I probably let on,” he said. “If I had an uphill shot I couldn’t get onto my left side so I’m just hanging back flipping it.

“Bunker shots, anything where my knee is really flexed and I’ve got lost of tension in my quad or my butt, in the glutes, everything pulls on it. Being in a bunker was horrific. Bending down. I remember bending down just to put the ball in front of the quarter, and that was painful enough.

“But it was just one of those things where I felt I just tried to get through it and figured eventually it would get better.”

Koepka cited his right knee in withdrawing from the event. He is replaced in the field by Anirban Lahiri, the first available alternate.

Koepka would have been among the early betting favorites this week, particularly having shot 9-under 63 in The Players in the past.

The Players Championship is played this year after being canceled in 2020 following the first round of the tournament. It was the start of a three-month stretch of canceled PGA Tour golf tournaments as the PGA Tour and the rest of the world dealt with the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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