Brooks Koepka was not pleased with the fans’ antics on the 18th hole in the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship.
The four-time major champion found the scene — where a crowd converged to watch Phil Mickelson become the oldest major winner at 50 — highly inconvenient.
And it appears it also carried a physical toll.
“Yeah, it would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury,” he said of the spectator swarm, per ESPN’s Nick Pietruszkiewicz. “Got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s—, personally. But if I was fine, yeah, it would have been cool. It’s cool for Phil. But getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun.”
Koepka had a procedure done on his knee last March but still isn’t back to 100 percent and has been playing through the pain. He was “skittish” among the crowd — which was a sensible way to feel given his lengthy injury history since his 2019 PGA Championship win — and had one goal while stuck among the spectators.
“[I was] trying to protect my knee,” Koepka said. “I don’t think anybody really understands until you’re coming out of surgery how — I mean, even when I was doing rehab and there’s five people kind of standing by your knee, you get a little skittish. Like, I don’t mind waiting or being in that crowd but getting my — I don’t know, it felt like somebody tried to, I don’t know what the deal was, but it’s what it is. [I’ll] be putting it in ice today. It feels like s— right now.”
Koepka wasn’t the only person to come out of the chaos dinged up. His caddie, Ricky Elliott, got “drilled in the face,” according to Koepka, and he got hit after crashing into Elliott. Mickelson himself called the situation “slightly unnerving.”
Needless to say, as more spectators return to the course following the COVID-19 pandemic, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour will have to make sure they have ample staff and security to control crowds. Koepka’s latest knock will serve as a cautionary tale for what could happen if they don’t.
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