Koepka and DeChambeau relish prospect of playing in Abu Dhabi - GulfToday

Koepka and DeChambeau relish prospect of playing in Abu Dhabi


Brooks Koepka is one of the top contenders for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Brooks Koepka expressed his delight to be back in Abu Dhabi and was all praise for golf courses across the UAE ahead of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship that begins on Thursday.

“I love this place. It is always a fun to get back to this place. It kind of reminds me of when I first came over here to The Challenge Tour and spent a bunch of time here in Dubai.

“I love this place. The golf course is really good. It’s in great shape, even after all the rain that they have had here. It’s just a place I like coming to. I felt comfortable here and hopefully play well this week,” said Koepka.

Commenting on the importance of winning the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship – the first event in the Rolex Series Kopeka said: “Obviously it would be nice. These Rolex Series Events are what you have more emphasis on winning. It’s what you want to win.

“The players that are playing in this event are obviously really good, some of the best players in the world. That’s why I think everyone’s here. You want to play in the top events. You want to play in the best events you can, and win them.”

Explaining about his injury lay-off twice in last two years and his preparation and comeback into the sport, Kopeka said: “I don’t know if it gives me more motivation. I don’t think it does. I think it -- when you have something you love and it’s taken away from you, I think it makes you appreciate it more and really enjoy being out here.

“I mean, I miss competition. I’ve missed showing up to an event preparing for something, because I haven’t had anything to prepare for. When you have three months off, it’s not fun, I know that. But it makes me appreciate the game more every time and hopefully I don’t have anymore of those situations.

“But I’m excited. I’m just excited to hit balls. When I started hitting, it’s the same thing. It’s exciting and it’s enthusiasm to get out there and go play. It’s been, last year, there wasn’t much practise.

“I just couldn’t do it with my knee. “I think everybody saw it on my team towards the end of the year. I couldn’t get on  my left side. I couldn’t do things. Couldn’t squat down in a bunker. I struggled to get down and read a putt. You know, thankfully that’s in the past now.

Elaborating about his injury , he went on to explain, “Yeah, I mean, I’ve had problems with it since March. Dealt with it the whole year, all the way till -- I had stem cell done on my knee and it felt fine all the way through Vegas, all the way to Korea.

“Everything felt good. And then in Korea, just slipped, and you know re-tore it and the kneecap had moved into the fat pad, which, that’s excruciating. It’s

a lot of pain. It’s not fun. It’s been -- I mean, we flew back, I think Saturday. I got in Saturday night and I started rehab on Monday.

“So I was very, you know, all the way through, still doing it now. Still doing a lot of rehab. Before gym, after the gym, getting in there. Been trying to make sure everything feels right, and it does not feel like my right knee, I’ll be honest with you. It doesn’t feel the same as my right. It probably won’t for a while.

“But it does feel stable, which leaving Korea and all the way up to about a month and a half ago, it just doesn’t feel stable. It felt like it could go either way. It could go left, out, back, it could go anyway.

Bryson DeChambeau, who is a top contender at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, admitted to be relishing the prospect of playing alongside a stellar line-up.

“This year is set up to be a great year. It’s always fun to start back here in the UAE. They have always been awesome to me and the people have been incredible, and I enjoy coming back here because of that. They make it special for me and they make me feel special, and that certainly warrants me coming back for three years to come I feel like, and it’s much appreciated.

“This golf course is an incredible layout. It’s a very good test of golf. The fairways are tight, and the greens are pure. So they just do a great job here personally and I love coming back to golf courses that are maintained really well, and they are fun to play.”

I’ve taken quite a bit of time off. That’s mainly to get healthier for the most part and get stronger I think. Those are my goals. I made some comments after Shriners that I wanted to be a different person coming back. I feel like I am and I certainly am swinging faster and doing things in a better way I feel like,” said DeChambeau.

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