Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, who struggled to walk at the Masters following right knee surgery in March, is back to hitting regular shots at this week's PGA Championship.
The 31-year-old American missed the cut last month at Augusta National in a hurried comeback that didn't lead to a setback but caused him to rest until last week, when he missed the cut at the US PGA Byron Nelson event.
"Last week was a good test just to see where I'm at," Koepka said. "Last week was just to make sure I can walk the golf course without pain. So I checked that one off.
"I can swing, no problem, different lies, different situations, and it was fine. I was very pleased with that. I like where I'm at. I got everything under control and know what I'm doing."
Koepka won the 2017 and 2018 US Open and the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championships. In 2019, he was second at the Masters and US Open and fourth at the British Open as well.
That's the form he's trying to regain after being nagged by knee and hip injuries. He snapped an 18-month win drought in February at Phoenix just before his latest injury. but says it will be November before he will be 100 perfect healthy.
"We're talking probably another six months," Koepka said. "If I beat that, I'm doing something good.
"I can play. You're never 100 percent. For two straight years it has been left knee, right knee, herniated a disc in my neck, played through that.
"I can deal with the pain. That's not an issue. It's just a matter of being able to hit shots that I want to hit and do things I want to do, and I'm starting to be able to do that, even though I'm not 100 percent."
While simply walking was difficult at Augusta National, Koepka says he is prepared for the challenge of the windy Kiawah Island layout, the longest in major golf history at 7,876 yards.
"It's a million times better so it makes it so much easier," Koepka said. "I feel like I can hit every shot. It's not like Augusta where I'm trying to figure out what's the best line to walk.
"Now I can actually hit golf shots and understand what's going on. I don't foresee any issues. I still have days where it sucks, when my knee just doesn't feel good waking up, but those are getting less and less."
Koepka still has moments when his knee is weak when he uses a driver, but says those come once every 20 or so drives after months of rehabilitation work.
"I'd go to push off my right leg and there was just nothing there," he said. "For the next month, it'll probably be the same. I'll go to fire off a driver and it still won't go. But if it just keeps getting better and better, I'm OK with that.
"You've just got to move on and try to make the next day better than the day before."