124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

LIV Golf

Brooks Koepka wins second LIV event, is ‘finally healthy’ as he sets sights on Augusta

April 02, 2023

Brooks Koepka celebrates winning on the 18th hole Sunday at LIV Golf's Orlando event at Orange County National.

Mike Ehrmann

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka signified his return to full fitness on the eve of Masters week with the second victory of his LIV Golf career.

Plagued with injuries to patella tendons in both legs and in his right kneecap in recent years, which required surgery, Koepka left the PGA Tour last summer as an eight-time winner for a lucrative deal with LIV Golf, a Saudi-backed rival league which offered huge signing bonuses and 54-hole events with no cut and $25 million purses.

Koepka shot a final-round three-under-par 68 Sunday at LIV’s Orlando tournament at Orange County National, the former host to the PGA Tour’s Q School. He posted a 15-under total (198) to win by one shot over Colombia’s Sebastián Muñoz (66).

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed (67) and South Africa’s Dean Burmester (64) tied for third.

Koepka won his second LIV title since joining the league in June last year, having also claimed the event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Koepka won $4 million for the individual victory and $375,000 for his quarter of his Smash GC team winning $1.5 million for its second-place finish. Captain Joaquin Niemann’s Torque GC won the $5 million team portion of the event.

The 32-year-old Koepka became the first player among LIV’s 48-player roster to win two of its individual tournaments.

Koepka said the second was more satisfying than his victory in Saud Arabia, despite that one being emotional given it ended a 20-month win drought for a player who, from 2017 to 2019, was among the most feared golfers in the world. In Saudi Arabia, Koepka had said his injuries raised fears that he “didn't know if my career was over for a second.”

“Yeah I think [it’s more rewarding than Jeddah],” Koepka said Sunday in Orlando. “Look at everything I've been through. I'm finally healthy man. It’s nice to play some good golf.

“It gives me chills to think about the capabilities [I have] do when I'm healthy and everything going into next week, it’s good to see.”

Next week, of course, is the 87th Masters at Augusta National, where Koepka and 17 other LIV golfers will tee up. Koepka has unfinished business at Augusta, having tied for second place to Tiger Woods during Woods’ epic 2019 victory—his fifth Masters green jacket.

LIV’s Orlando venue—the Crooked Cat course at Orange County National—was criticized for a lack of quality and challenge to elite players, but Koepka said that should not be the case.

“I actually think this was a good test for Augusta greens,” Koepka said. “The greens were fast, similar to Augusta and on some good slopes. I'm just happy to get the win.”