Chinese Taipei’s Kevin Yu is ready to make up for lost time at the Travelers Championship this week following a four-month injury layoff.
The 24-year-old Yu underwent surgery in February to repair torn meniscus in his left knee which halted an impressive run in his PGA TOUR rookie campaign where he had posted a top-3 finish at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and a tie for seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“’I’ve recovered well from my injury. I started to practice and hitting balls about a month ago, and I feel good now. I’m really excited with the upcoming tournament,” said Yu.
A former World Amateur No. 1, Yu enjoyed a stellar amateur career where he played for Arizona State University and won three individual titles. He finished fourth in the inaugural PGA TOUR University class of 2021 to gain exemption into the Korn Ferry Tour and subsequently earned his PGA TOUR card in 2022 on the strength of two runners-up finishes and a solo third.
Yu hurt his knee while working out in the gym in February but feels confident he can maintain his chase for a top-70 finish in the FedExCup points list to qualify for the Playoffs in August. He was ranked 40th before being side-lined by the injury and will enter the Travelers Championship in 100th place.
“I was doing a vertical jump in training and when I landed, I heard a “pop” in my knee,” said Yu. “I am excited to come back. I think it is important to keep to my own pace. I won’t overdo my practice, and will keep to a plan that I’ve made which will include physical training and rehabilitation work to strengthen the muscles in my leg.”
After taking initial baby steps with his return, Yu feels his game is now ready to take on a star-studded field in this week’s US$20 million showpiece at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. Newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark will headline the tournament alongside defending champion Xander Schauffele, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, reigning FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Jon Rahm.
“I feel good with my driver, short irons and putting. When I practice, I have been trying to think and feel as though I’m in a tournament. I wanted to focus and mimic the feeling of playing in an event since I’ve been out injured,” said Yu.
“Although I was out, I kept telling myself I was doing great at the start of the season, I am competing in the world’s biggest stage and I can play well as long as I keep to my rhythm and game plan. Obviously, there is a need to focus on my every shot.”
Yu is looking forward to the challenge ahead of his maiden visit to TPC River Highlands. “The course is in great shape. I think it will require me to land the ball in the right places with the second shots. There are many slopes around the green, so accuracy is required to put the ball in position on the fairways and greens,” he said.