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September 28, 2016

Brooks Koepka

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Rapid fire again at The Ryder Cup, 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by Brooks Koepka.

Brooks, thanks for making a little time for us. Welcome to your first Ryder Cup. You've essentially had a spot secured for most of the summer. You were in a really comfortable spot there. So when did your preparations for this week begin? I know you battled an injury, but when you were back healthy, when did the preparations begin mentally and physically for you to be here this week?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Two years ago when qualification started, I think that was kind of the preparation. I think that the main goal was to make The Ryder Cup Team; and to be a part of this team, I think it's especially important for me.

Obviously starting in Europe, being over there, you heard about it just about every week. Guys were just jabbing you, having fun. But it's been on my mind for awhile and it's nice to be here.

JOHN DEVER: As the lone rookie on the team for awhile there, were you a little bit relieved when they added Ryan Moore, and you at least had someone to commiserate with.

BROOKS KOEPKA: I guess it's nice to have another rookie going through the same thing, same feelings, stuff like that.

Just to be here is incredible. It's been a long journey and it's fun to finally be here instead of watching.

JOHN DEVER: It's been kind of windy the first few days here, and it's projected, forecast for that to calm down. How difficult is it to prepare in this 25, 30, 35-mile-an-hour winds, when there's a good, good chance that there won't be much wind on the weekend?

BROOKS KOEPKA: It's fine. You're getting to see the whole golf course, I guess you could say. You're hitting it into some spots you probably won't be hitting into, and you know, moving the tees around could be big. You might be in the same spots if it's into the wind and they are moving the tees up, things like that.

But you really -- you're playing with three other guys, too. So you see a bunch of different shots. You see a bunch of different situations guys could be on, whether left side could be a little better than the right or vice versa or whatever. You really get to see it. It's nice playing with three other guys that are part of the team that you could be playing with and really get to know the golf course. And it will be nice when the winds die down, I know that.

Q. Playing in your first Ryder Cup, how comfortable have you been in the environment so far, and has playing with guys like Rickie and Phil and Jimmy helped that at all?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's great. All those guys have played. They have been a part of a Ryder Cup, so they have kind of helped me on what to expect and how things are going.

It's cool, you know, to be around guys like Phil, and obviously Rickie. He's pretty much the same age as me and he's gone through it. So it's fun to be around those guys. I mean, we're joking, having a good time, but yet at the same time, we're getting our work done and really enjoying it.

Q. Are there any members of Team Europe who you got to know particularly well when you were on The European Tour? And second question, while you were there on the Tour, did you get a sense of how, or if, in fact, The Ryder Cup means more in Europe than it does in the States?
BROOKS KOEPKA: The first question, I think I know all of them really well. Being over there for a year, you pretty much play with everybody and going to dinners and things like that. You're hanging out with everyone, just like you are here in the States, but that's where I started. So I've probably known those guys longer than I have the guys in the States. But it's fun. It will be fun to compete against them this week.

And what was your second question?

Q. Whether you got a sense, because you've been on both tours, whether The Ryder Cup means more, on the range, on The European Tour compared to here in the States, too?
BROOKS KOEPKA: We both care a lot, I can tell you that. You know, Europe's obviously gotten the better of us over the last few years, and you've seen their celebrations. I was there in -- I think it was right after they won the last one, I was in Wentworth when I won Rookie of the Year for the European Tour and they had their celebration dinner there. So I was there watching them celebrate.

It was cool for them, and they were celebrating it. But also at the same time, we want to celebrate over here, too. Everybody cares a tremendous amount about The Ryder Cup. You know, you can see it in the team room. You can see the passion the guys have.

A bunch of the veterans, the older guys, they know, I mean, you see the way they talk about it and the passion they have for it. Everybody cares a lot.

Q. What advice has stuck with you most about what you can expect on Friday?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Just have fun and do what you've got to do. I mean, I obviously played good enough to get myself here and I just need to keep doing that, don't change anything. It's going to be a fun week and you've just really got to embrace it. That's kind of been the big thing. Everybody's -- being a part of the team room and doing things like that, sitting around and talking, getting to know guys better, I mean, it's fun.

But then there's also nothing like being in the atmosphere and hearing "U.S.A." as we're walking down the fairways. It was amazing how many people were here on Tuesday. Obviously I've never been a part of it so I don't know what to expect, but kind of felt loud and they are cheering for you, which is fun.

Q. With the golf course wet and there's not a lot of rough, how big a weapon is length on a week like this? And secondly, do you have a new driver in play? Can you take us through transitioning into that, if you are?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, we're hitting the TaylorMade M2.

And then this week, I think length is quite important. I know guys are going to be trying to hit it far, and with the rough down, it's not a big deal. Even if you do spray it a little bit and you're in the rough, you always seem to have a shot. You're not getting much flyers out of the rough, and it's not that deep where you're chopping it out.

Pretty much I guess our mentality right now is just hit it as far as you can off that tee. I think having a couple wedges, shorter irons into these greens is going to be a big difference.

Q. What's your earliest Ryder Cup memory from watching the event?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I'd say probably two years ago. I mean, I don't really watch golf in my off-weeks. If I'm not playing, I'm usually not watching, so I don't really have too many memories of it. But the last time was when I won on The Challenge Tour, I think it was in Spain. Went to a restaurant and literally I was sitting there watching. It was exciting just to see the passion and the enthusiasm guys had for it, and it was cool. But I've always wanted to be a part of it. I just never -- just really not watching golf in my off-weeks to be honest.

Q. What's your sense of who does what among the assistant captains? Has it been made clear to you what role each guy plays exactly and who has helped you this week?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, everybody's got an important part, whether it be livening up the group, just talking a little bit about strategy, things in that. Obviously I was with -- the first day, Furyk was there, part of my group. It was fun just to hear some of his experiences and how he's approached them in certain situations and things like that. And then we were with Tom Lehman today.

These guys have so much passion. They care so much and they just want us to do so well. It's been made very clear what we want to do and how we want to approach it and things like that. And just to bounce ideas off of, too, I think that's important.

These guys have played this golf course more than I have with, what, how many championships have they played here? There's quite a few. So they have got the playing experience, too, and now they can sit back and kind of help guys through that, so it's been very important.

JOHN DEVER: I'd be curious, the first conversation you had with Captain Love about The Ryder Cup, obviously in the last two years, when that was, and what your initial take is on his leadership style?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it was about a year ago, maybe a year and a half ago, we started exchanging texts and phone calls and things like that. But it's been nothing but great.

He's been unbelievable. I mean, I don't have anything to compare to, but this week, it's been unbelievable. He's been very supportive. He knows what he wants out of the guys and he knows what he wants out of me and things like that. To hear his opinions on stuff like that is cool.

He's setting up -- we have a good game plan and all we have to do is execute it, that's it, and that's what you want.

Q. On the driver, what went into that decision to change that club and how long have you been working with that model?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Started working with it, I think, last week. Just like the way we hit it. It was going really well. It was actually, the first one I hit was Graeme McDowell's driver. I was in Orlando last week and was just hitting balls and liked it, and here it is. So it's here.

JOHN DEVER: That's Brooks Koepka and we appreciate his time. Sir, enjoy your week.

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