SAN FRANCISCO — Major championship golf is tough enough. But there was Brooks Koepka on Friday at TPC Harding Park, dealing with pain in his left hip, enough to have to summon his trainer from outside the ropes to offer aid.
Three times while playing the back nine — starting on the 12th hole — there was Koepka lying on his back, trainer Marc Wahl manipulating the area around his left hip and pulling on his leg to relieve pressure.
Not that it mattered too much.
Koepka managed to birdie the final hole for a 2-under-par 68 that put him in a tie for second, just two shots back of China’s Li Haotong after the second round of the PGA Championship.
“It’s fine,” Koepka said. “I woke up this morning, it was tight, and worked out and it got even tighter and then we loosened it up. It was a little tight when I was hitting balls on the range but it’s nothing to be worried about. We’ll loosen it up again and it will be a lot better.”
Koepka, who has been plagued by a left knee issue that dates almost a year and has performed under his standards for most of that time, simply does not go away in major championships.
Over his past nine PGA Championship rounds, only four players total have been ahead of him. He has ranked among the top three after each of those rounds, a PGA Championship record.
The two-time defending champion, Koepka, 30, is bidding to become the first player to win a major three consecutive times since Peter Thomson won The Open from 1954 through 1956. Walter Hagen was the most recent to do so at the PGA Championship, winning the tournament four straight years from 1924 to 1927.
All things considered, Koepka could not ask to be in a better position.
“I’m pretty happy,” he said. “I felt like I probably could be 10 [under par] right now,” he said. “Hit a lot of good putts, just didn’t go in. A couple of them, if I just hit them, they’re in. But driving it pretty well. Iron play, I’m pretty pleased with. You know, I like where I’m at.”
He will be paired with Rose and beings the third round at 5:50 p.m. ET.