It was announced last week that Brooks Koepka would be stepping away from the President’s Cup in 2019 after sustaining a knee injury during the CJ Cup earlier in October. With the American team now short one player, team captain Tiger Woods announced that Rickie Fowler would be taking his place.
This move seems to come from left field. Fowler finished 11th at the last President’s Cup and, most recently, withdrew from the Mayakoba Golf Classic due to intestinal distress.
Tiger Doesn’t Waver
Tiger Woods, however, stands by his decision in picking Fowler. He chose him for three specific reasons: the camaraderie he brings to the team, how easily he adapts to different pairings within the team, and his overall experience.
Woods’ vice-captains, Zach Johnson and David Love III, both support the decision. They both praised Woods with taking Koepka’s injury in stride and making a decision under the added pressure.
Referring back to the 2016 Ryder Cup, Love III mentioned that Tiger Woods already had envisioned every worst-case scenario and had a solution lined up. The vice-captain added that “Now that [Woods] is in charge, I can’t imagine the notes he has and the information.” Tiger Woods has been known for being bold and taking risks when it comes to choosing teammates.
Woods Faces Some External Criticism
Despite the happiness from the US team, some don’t think that this was the best idea. NBC’s Will Gray stated that Woods’ pick was, in fact, a safe one. Fowler’s past performances have been impressive, but his recent ones are nothing to write home about.
He has not completed a tournament since he finished 19th at the Tour Championship and, for his two starts in the President’s Cup, has only a 4-3-1 score to show for it.
According to Gray, the smarter choice may have been to choose an up-and-comer. This would have made a more significant impact on the team and the player selected.
Gray uses Kevin Na as an example. At thirty-six, Na had two wins in the past six months and had never represented the United States team. With his short game being his strong suit, he would have been a great inclusion to the team.
Gray even goes so far as to say that this mentality of strengthening the qualifications of seasoned players “makes it all the more difficult for fresh faces to crack the rotation.”
Koepka’s Recent History of Knee Problems
Koepka, on the other hand, has had a recent history of knee problems. It was revealed that, shortly after the Tour Championship in September, he underwent knee surgery. He rested for six weeks before jumping right back into golf.
His run at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Open was, ultimately, unsuccessful. This series of events begs the question: Was he rehabilitated enough to jump back into playing?
Claude Harmon III spoke to GolfMagic and said that “Brooks is still trying to figure out what direction he is going to do,” In spite of his eagerness to get back and playing, this recent injury may be a wake- up call for Koepka to take his health more seriously.
The President’s Cup will take place in Victoria, Australia at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. The event will take place from the 9th of December through the 15th of 2019. This will be the final event on the PGA tour for the year. Prepare for the 2020 golf season by checking out our recent reviews of golf clubs, irons, shoes, rain gear, balls, light golf bags, drivers, putters, and more.