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August 10, 2017

Brooks Koepka

Charlotte, North Carolina

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome back to the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.

I'm again pleased to be joined by Brooks Koepka, who began the championship with a 3-under par 68 today. That included five birdies and two bogeys. Four of those five birdies came on the front side, which was his second nine.

Brooks, looking at the card here, looks like some solid play on the front on your first nine, and then strong play on your second nine. Is that what you read, too?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I feel like I played pretty solid. The first hole, got off to a terrible -- I missed a 4-footer, and that was kind of my day, it kind of felt like. Wasn't exactly comfortable on the greens. I don't know what that was.

I think it had a lot to do with the speed of the greens, how fast they were. With some of the pin locations, these greens are the fastest greens I've ever played. And the thing is, they are only going to get faster and firmer.

So it will be really interesting to see how the rest of the week plays. Hit the ball really well and drove the ball really well and put the ball in the fairway. That's what you need to do out here.

JOHN DEVER: Speaking of confidence, you seem quite confident when you visited with us, I believe it was yesterday. Did your play match up to that confidence? Did you perform as you thought you might today?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I did. I felt like I played really well. The disappointing part was how well we've been putting, and that didn't -- that didn't transition from the last couple of months over to today. But I mean, it's one day, so you can't really think too much of it. I felt like I was hitting good putts on some good lines, and they just didn't go in. So it is what it is.

Q. We talked about this with you yesterday, but here it is, another major, and you're up at or near the top of the leaderboard. Could you just kind of describe or detail your run of success and solid play in these tournaments?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think it just comes down to, you know, preparation. We do a lot of work, and you know, we focus in on these majors, and that's when you're trying to peak, trying to play your best. Sometimes it's a lot simpler than people think. I think people kind of psyche themselves out quite a bit in a major, put too much pressure on themselves. It's the same game I've been playing for 23, 24 years. All you've got to do is put the ball in the hole and move on.

I think people get quite frustrated sometimes in majors. I've seen it a lot. You've just got to stay really patient and realize sometimes bogey is not a bad score out here. It's quite difficult and you've just got to realize that, you know, you're in the first round of a four-round event. So one hole isn't going to kill you.

But in majors, I don't know what we've -- all I can say is I try not to make a double-bogey. That's kind of my goal in a major; if I can keep doing that. I don't know when -- the last time did I in a major. I'm sure it's happened. But I feel like, you know, it takes one hole to recover from a bogey and it takes two to come back from a double.

You're not going to make many birdies in a major championship, so you need to stay patient and try to give yourself good looks.

Q. Obviously today was a drier today, sunny day and whatnot and it's drying out the greens and whatnot. You said these are as fast as you've seen it. How much faster were they than even the first few days in the practice rounds, and how many holes did it take for you to kind of feel like you adjusted to that?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I felt like they were -- on Monday, they were flying. So these were pretty close to Monday, if not faster. I don't know what they did. I don't know what they are rolling. You never really quite felt like the ball was ever going to stop.

Sergio hit a putt today that I thought was three feet short and it trickled into the hole. You know, I can't imagine how much faster they are going to get. I'm sure they might slow them down a little bit. Because the problem is, these greens are so undulating that the slopes, they have just gotten bigger and bigger.

You know, especially with bermuda, there's grain. Everything seems to always go downgrain, downhill. If you put some spin on it, it's going to come back, and it makes these slopes three times the size of what they actually are, which is the difficult part.

Q. As a really good ball-striker and a longer hitter, do you invite hitting longer clubs into the greens because of the wetness and the length of this golf course. Do you think that plays to the advantage of a good ball-striker or do you like hitting a lot of short irons in in terms of how much you can be affected?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, it all depends on the golf course. But this golf course, it's a bomber's paradise I think. There's some lines we can take over some trees. No. 2, I just take it up over the tree. Trying to think of some other holes -- you can take a short line into a bunch of them.

Like I hit pitching wedge into 1 today. I'm pretty sure a bunch of guys are going to be hitting 6-, maybe 5-iron into that hole. Length is a key factor out here, and especially when it's as wet as it is, it makes those fairways a bit wider. And especially if you can keep it in the fairway, you'll be just fine.

Q. Just wondering what your opinion is of the fourth hole. Specifically the green there.
BROOKS KOEPKA: You want my opinion on it?

Q. Yes.
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's too undulating. I think if they had made the green a little bit flatter, it would have been a little bit better. But it's not. So -- I mean, I don't really care that much to be honest with you. It's something, everyone's got to play it. So it doesn't really bother me.

You know, if we can get out of there -- you've just got to try to leave the ball under the hole. Just small quadrants, that's how I look it. On that green there's probably four there: You have the back left, front left, back right, and in the middle it just funnels into whatever one that is.

But I think it's a little too shallow, if I'm honest, and too undulating. So whatever. It's fine.

Q. Can you take us through what happened at 16? I guess the marshal got hit, but by the first time you got to him, it seemed like he was doing okay.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, he was fine. Well, I shouldn't say fine. He just got drilled in the head. I felt terrible about it. I mean, that's never fun to walk up and see somebody, you just drilled them. I drilled him in the head, which is probably the worst part. To be honest with you, I felt like crap.

He was laughing and joking when I was up there, kept telling me, "You got a good break." I was like, well, still feel like crap. But yeah, I got his information so I'll probably reach out to him tonight and see how he's doing. I'm sure he's going to have quite a big headache.

JOHN DEVER: I should add, he is doing well and he headed home for the day. But everything appears to be fine with him.


JOHN DEVER: We got that good update afterwards.

Q. Kind of a two-part, and I don't know how related they are. But what did you think of Jordan's day, and then, do you feel like if the greens stay about this speed, that by the end of the weekend, you'll have had a better read on them?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I thought Jordan played okay. He didn't make as many putts as he usually does. I feel like that 15- to 20-foot range, usually see him make a bunch of putts. He just didn't make any.

His speed was a little bit off from about 40 feet. He had a couple putts that he just ran them ten, 15 feet by. But he struck it really well. It was pretty impressive to watch him kind of play No. 7. I thought fading the ball off the bunker in the middle of the fairway, and then he hit I think a 3-wood to, you know, 25 feet on the green, which was pretty impressive.

He's a grinder. It's impressive to watch him play. He picks apart a golf course really, really well. I mean, he's, what, 24, 25, I don't know how old he is. He's pretty impressive. 24, yeah, at that age, that's a lot of maturity. You know, it's fun to see.

But as far as the greens, I don't know. I mean, I think they could slow them up a little bit, I really do. It depends. I think we're supposed to have rain tomorrow afternoon, right, 50 percent chance is what I was told. So that could be a little bit of a factor. That could slow them up and make them a little more receptive.

You know, we'll see. But they definitely don't need to be faster.

JOHN DEVER: Brooks Koepka, thank you, sir, for your time.

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