TULSA, Oklahoma — Brooks Koepka got off to a bad start to his day Tuesday, arriving about an hour late at South Hills Country Club after his keys were locked in his car.
with the vehicle. And his clubs in the trunk.
Koepka, who blamed putting coach Jeff Pierce, is still unsure how this happened.
“It’s unbelievable to me,” he said. “I don’t think cars should do that, but apparently it does.”
With Keygate settled – and the spare key arrives – Koepka is able to get back to key parts of his game that have baffled him recently.
Koepka missed the cut to the Masters, and the culprit was his putt. He took about three weeks off before starting to work with his coach.
“Started to hone in, putt with Jeff, because I think that was really what brought me down at Augusta, got me down, and it ended up with some results. …just pissed off, “He said. “Let it seep into the rest of my swing and golf game.”
Now, after quitting last week’s Byron Nelson to make sure he’s ready for the PGA, Koepka appears to be back with the swagger that — in two years’ time — has made him the best player in the sport. One of the most feared big game players.
Seven Grand Slams since Koepka last
From the 2017-19 season, Koepka has won four majors — two PGAs and two U.S. Opens — and is in contention in several others. But there have been seven majors since he won one. Although Koepka has endured various injuries and suspensions and has been in the top 10 in the majors since winning the 2019 PGA at Bethpage Black, his world rankings are in this The season fluctuated from No. 15 to No. 21 (he is currently No. 18) once for 47 weeks.
But after a long break — he hasn’t played since the Masters — Koepka adjusted his schedule for this week’s competition.
“I feel ready, now just need to play,” he said. “simple.”
Koepka’s break after the Masters was expected. After all, he and girlfriend Jena Sims have a wedding planned; they’re getting married this summer. But long breaks between majors are unusual. Usually, he competes in at least one event.
Much of that time was spent re-familiarizing himself with his putting and hitting, whether it was putting it in the living room or doing what he said he never did: watching himself on YouTube.
“I went back and watched YouTube videos of every major I’ve won and what I’ve been doing with the putt,” he said. “Gathered a few different things, something about the setup, something about hitting the ball, just to figure out where the touch was. It was a little bit off. Everything just didn’t feel right.
“But it’s getting back to how I feel, and it looks very similar to the past few years.”
Professional brings out the best of Koepka. Whatever happens to his game, as long as there are no injuries, he’ll find a way to be a factor. He’s just approached the weeks differently, and he said he’s trying to carry it over to the regular tour.
Koepka holds eight Pro Tour titles and has as many majors as non-majors.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” said Koepka, who kicked off Thursday’s first round at 2:03 p.m. ET. He was teamed up with Shane Lowry and Adam Scott.
“There’s more pressure to win a major, so it’s not like a regular tour. I think when we play tougher golf courses, you can see it, you look at the leaderboards, and then when we play subpar At 30. I think there’s a difference.”
Koepka doesn’t want to talk about Mickelson
Locking down a professional week is not a problem. That means when it comes to outside distractions — like locking the keys in the car — or talking about the most discussed topic of the week: Phil Mickelson’s absence.
A year ago, Koepka was runner-up with Mickelson in the final round of the PGA, witnessing Mickelson’s historic victory up close. But don’t expect Koepka to be warm and fuzzy. When asked about the final round, Koepka said he gave up.
Koepka was then asked how surprised he was at Mickelson’s decision not to defend his title because of his support for the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Series and criticism of the PGA Tour.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t pay attention to what other people are doing. I read articles about him playing. Then he stops playing. It’s all up to him, man. He does whatever he wants.”