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Brooks Koepka withdraws from Travelers Championship; Justin Thomas also out with sore back

Hartford Courant logoHartford Courant 6/22/2022 Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
Brooks Koepka of the United States walks on the 18th hole during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Augusta, Georgia. © Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America/TNS Brooks Koepka of the United States walks on the 18th hole during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Augusta, Georgia.

HARTFORD, Conn. — As expected, Brooks Koepka is out of the Travelers Championship field, the PGA announced late Tuesday.

In an unrelated move, Justin Thomas, the reigning PGA champion and No. 5 player in the world, announced he was pulling out to rest a sore back. He’s being replaced in the field by Satoshi Kodaira.

The PGA has suspended other golfers who have joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, which Koepka is set to do. However, he could have played in the Travelers, since he will not tee off for LIV until June 30.

But that would have been rather awkward. Koepka was not in attendance at player meetings at the TPC River Highlands Tuesday morning.

Koepka, 32, has won four majors, the U.S. Open and PGA Championship twice each, between 2017 and 19. He tied for fifth at the Travelers last year. He is now one of four players to originally commit to the Travelers field who have dropped out due to LIV affiliations. The others are Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer.

He was replaced in the Travelers field by Mark Hubbard.

The Pro-Am teed off on Wednesday without UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and comedian Bill Murray, both of whom were feeling under the weather. Murray is the father of UConn men’s basketball assistant coach Luke Murray. ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg stepped in to fill a spot.

Meanwhile Thomas put the news out Wednesday morning via Twitter. At first, he walked off the first tee to go into the clubhouse, then returned and completed his practice round, shooting 1-under par.

“Before the rumors start flying, I have decided to WD to treat and rest my back which I tweaked earlier this week,” he tweeted. “Just making sure I get it taken care of and ready for the rest of the PGA season as planned. Hate to be missing one of the best/my favorite events.”

Bubba Watson, three-time winner at the Travelers, is missing the tournament this year as he recovers from a knee injury. However, he tweeted out a video to promote the Travelers’ live stream, which will benefit he Hole-in-the-Wall camp, a cause which Watson has adopted.

©2022 Hartford Courant. Visit at courant.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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