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August 12, 2018

Brooks Koepka

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, good evening, and welcome back to what is the 100th PGA Championship. I am thrilled to be joined by the winner of the 100th PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka. Brooks closed with a final round 66 today, six birdies and a couple bogeys, for a four-day total of 264, which established a PGA Championship 72-hole record.

Brooks, that was -- that appeared to be one hell of a shootout out there, and to take some punches from a star studded leaderboard and to come out on the other side has to be gratifying.

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it is. It's extremely gratifying. When you look at 4 and 5 to make two bogeys there, and I think I was tied for the lead at that point. I figured, obviously, I had to get it going, to birdie 7, 8, 9 was kind of a big momentum shift for me, I felt like. And especially with Tiger making that run, basically, right at the same time when we were on, I think, 10 green. And then from 12, Scotty birdied 12 and 13, and it became a really tight race.

But the shots I hit coming down the stretch were very good. We had a perfect number into 15, and then 16, I mean, I hit a laser right at the flag. That will probably go down as probably one of the best shots I've ever hit under pressure.

THE MODERATOR: Today you had the opportunity to hoist your second Major championship trophy in just 56 days. Is there in any way in such a short time you can grasp the magnitude of that brand of accomplishment?

BROOKS KOEPKA: No. When I look at what I've done in the past two months, it's incredible. Looking where I was, sitting on my couch watching the Masters, and to think I would do this, I would have laughed at you and told you there was no way, no chance, and to do it is really incredible.

My doctors, physios, trainers, everybody did an unbelievable job even to get back out on the golf course, and to do what I've done is very impressive. I can't even believe it.

Q. Brooks, congratulations on the victory. Can you comment on your mindset going on to the 6th tee after bogeying holes 4 and 5, how you were able to overcome the adversity to go 5 under the last 13 holes?
BROOKS KOEPKA: My thought was, don't bogey this one too. We hit it in the water on Thursday. I actually hit a great shot. I knew a little long wasn't too bad. I needed to right the ship, and I hit probably one of the worst putts I've hit all week on that hole to run it, what, maybe about eight feet by. But to make that come back, it actually made it feel like I made a birdie. That could have been the turning point for me to kind of right the ship and to make those three birdies coming up.

Q. Brooks, you mentioned Tiger making the run. Could you hear the roars, and what was your reaction to that? Clearly, you seemed pretty calm about it.
BROOKS KOEPKA: I couldn't hear it. I mean, everybody on the golf course heard it. It was actually quite funny. You could hear the roars when we were on 10 and 11, and then you could kind of hear it trickle down as they changed the leaderboards all the way through. You could hear a different roar like every 30 seconds. So we knew what was going on. It's pretty obvious when Tiger makes a birdie. I think everybody at the golf course cheers for him. I'm sure everyone is rooting for him.

You know, I remember the loudest roar I think I've heard was when I was hitting my putt on 8. I don't know, did he birdie 9? Yeah, he birdied 9. When he made that putt, and I was over it, and everybody's roaring, I'm like, all right, just make this one and try to get through that. But I mean, the roars -- the crowd was unbelievable with the amount of people that were out here is incredible.

Q. Brooks, this win means you're going to be voted Player of the Year by your peers and by the writers in this room. Three major championship wins pretty much guarantees a spot in the Hall of Fame. Do you feel like you'll finally get the appreciation you deserve?

Q. The first time you were in the hunt for a Major at Erin Hills, during a pressure moment, I think you and Rickie were talking about which Asian beach to go to later in the year. When it's that many people and that loud out there, and you can hear it, mostly for Tiger, can you give us a hint of what your pulse is like, and did you ever get rattled at all?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I never got frustrated. I think maybe the most frustrated I was, was when I missed that short one on 4. I just, for some reason today, I didn't quite have the touch on the greens. I left quite a few putts short. I felt like the greens were a tad bit slower than the putting green, because I thought the putting green got a little faster. I was even hitting uphill ones -- or downhill ones, and they still weren't quite getting to the hole. Just a little bit of touch today on the greens.

But I mean, I was very impressed with the way I hung in there, especially after 5. But to hear some of these roars, I mean, I can't even begin to tell you.

Q. Brooks, can you talk about the moment on the 18th green when you decided to putt before Scotty putted out, and what did he say to you when you did that?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, well, it was kind of -- it was so short, first off, and then the fact of I've got -- it was kind of -- I didn't want it to be in his way because I knew he'd be looking at it. It was so close to the hole, I didn't want to take away from anything that he was doing because I knew he needed to make the putt, and I kind of wanted to get out of his way. Otherwise, if I'd have hit it six, eight inches further and not directly behind the hole, I probably would have marked it. But just for the fact that it was in his sight line when he's looking at the hole, especially right with the way it breaks coming up left to right, I just didn't want him staring at it.

Q. Brooks, did you get the sense of how much people wanted Tiger to win this? And secondly, do you care? I mean, you're obviously trying to win it yourself. Did you really care about that emotion that was going through the galleries?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I think, other than me, my team, everybody was rooting for Tiger. I mean, as they should. He's probably -- he's the greatest player to ever play the game, and to have the comeback that he's having is incredible. You look at the British Open, when he finally got that lead, how energetic that crowd was. And then when he started making that run, it brought me back to when I was a kid and when I was watching him and you heard those roars. I remember I went to the British Open -- I forget what year it was. When Ben Curtis won. And he was kind of making a charge, and you could hear the roars.

I mean, being a part of that as a fan is cool, and even when you're playing, it's still pretty neat. It kind of pushes you to step up your game. I mean, you have to because you know he's right there if you fall.

Q. Brooks, a far cry from winning the Turkish Airlines Open. Now you have three Majors in rapid succession. Can you explain what allows you to focus so specifically in the Majors and the results you've gotten so far?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I'm just very -- I don't want to say maybe a different person when I show up to the Majors. I'm very focused, very disciplined. I'm in the house. My agent, Claude, my coach and the chef from the Floridian, he's there, he's cooking for us. Everyone's much more on the same routine. Everybody knows what to expect, what to do. I don't -- I want to say maybe I've matured a little bit more off the golf course, which has kind of helped me on the golf course the last few years -- being in a routine, waking up, going right to the gym. It kills some time, yes, but also gets my body going before I can even come out here and even hit balls and kind of helps pass the time. Especially today, going to the gym this morning and killing two hours, it's kind of nice. It's better for you than sitting in the bed, sitting on the couch.

Q. Two things. Can you ever -- can you recall a time when you were ever sort of rattled or intimidated in anything?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I honestly can't. I have a lot of self belief. I knew, even today, when everybody was making that charge, if I just hung in there, made one more shot, one good shot at a time, kept it rolling, I knew I was going to have a chance to kind of separate myself maybe a little bit, and that finally came on 15. And then to hit such a good shot on 16, and especially to make the putt when Scotty almost chipped it in. You know, that could -- if I missed that, that could be a real role reversal right there.

Q. Brooks, a lot has been said and written about the crowds out here this weekend. As champion, do you have any thoughts on how the galleries have been here at Bellerive?
BROOKS KOEPKA: They've been amazing. I've never seen this many people at a golf tournament. They were as energetic and loud as I've ever seen. I don't think -- I mean, on Wednesday, I don't even think there's been that many people at an event that I've ever played at. And then when you come out here on Saturday afternoon, the crowds -- I mean, I don't even know what to say. I've never seen that many people at a golf tournament. It's actually -- I mean, I know that it's a big sports town, which is awesome, and then to see all these people come out and support the golf tournament, I love it. I wish it was like that every week.

Q. Just a followup. Going back to what you were saying before about the respect and so forth, do you care what people's perception of you is outside of friends, family, et cetera?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No. I don't care what anybody else says. People are always going to -- you're always going to have fans, and you're always going to have people that hate you. The people around me, they know who I am, and that's really all I care about. I like to reach out to the fans, you know, have support. I think that's always great to have the support of fans and as many people as you can behind you, and I try to do that. I try to acknowledge all the fans as much as I can. But there's always going to be people that hate you, but you've just got to move on with it and use that as motivation.

Q. Brooks, if you keep this up, you have the potential to be one of the great golfers of all time. What would that mean to you?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I actually never thought about that. Three Majors at 28, I didn't -- it's a cool feeling. It really is. You know, hopefully I can stay healthy. I've kind of had some trouble with that over the past two years, three years, whatever it was. Missed the British and then to miss Augusta. You know, I think I'm much more disciplined now, so I should be able to play every Major, making sure my body's healthy.

But I'm excited. I'm excited for the next few years. I mean, as fans -- like I'm a fan of golf. You should be excited. I mean, Tiger's come back. You look at what Dustin's doing, Justin, Rory, Spieth -- I mean, it's a great time to be a golf fan. I can't wait to duel it out with them over the next couple years or next however long.

Q. Brooks, would you share a story of being an Adam Scott fan growing up, what it was like, describe what it was like to have your two childhood idols breathing down your throat and then beating them?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Surreal, that's all I can say. I remember when I watched Adam win at the PLAYERS, I think -- I was so mad when he hit it in the water, I was probably as mad as he was or upset because I was rooting so hard. I loved his golf swing. He's got the best golf swing ever, I think. It's so pretty to watch. He's one of the nicest guys once you meet him too. He really is.

And then, I mean, Tiger for obvious reasons. As a kid growing up, that's the whole reason that all of us, or people in my generation are even playing golf was because of him. And to duel it out with them, it's pretty neat. I don't think I ever dreamed of that, that situation that I was in today.

It really is surreal. It's really cool.

Q. Brooks, to expound a little more on St. Louis, there doesn't appear to be another opening for a major championship here in this city for several years. They're booked through the next decade for the PGA and then the Ryder Cup through 2032. Do you have a message for decision makers out there that may be looking for locations for tournaments anywhere down the line?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, with the support we had today, I don't see why anybody would be against it. I mean, I know that they set things up for the next, what is it -- I'm looking at these banners -- 2029. Most of them are already pretty set. But going forward, I wouldn't see why. This tournament was great for the fans, especially with the leaderboard that we had. Everyone turned out for it. Everyone was there. Everyone is excited. I don't see a reason why we wouldn't come back to this area, being such good sporting fans.

I think it would be great. You look at it, I think it would be perfect for a Ryder Cup.

Q. Brooks, one of the perks of winning here at Bellerive is a membership to Bellerive. What do you like most about the course, and do you see yourself coming back and playing a lot?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, if I'm ever in the area, I'd love to come back and play this golf course. Hopefully, I can bring my family back, me and my brother and my dad, my caddie, or bring a group of buddies. I think that would be truly special. I mean, with the members giving me a membership, it's so nice of them to do that. I hope we can come back and bring everybody back.

Q. Brooks, why do you think you've been able to achieve this level of play after what Claude said was a career-threatening injury?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think sitting on the couch made me really appreciate how much I actually love this game and love competition. When you're out of competition -- I don't want to say I was depressed, but I was definitely down. And to finally have the chance to come back and play, I can't tell you how excited I was. I couldn't wait to get off the couch. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning. And some of those days, I don't think I moved off the couch at all. I got fat, gained about 15, 20 pounds. That's never fun. And I just kept telling myself, I just kind of talked to myself, all right, one day at a time. Keep going, keep going. You're getting closer and closer. And then finally to get the okay from the doctors, I've never been more focused, more driven, more excited to play and really embracing what's around me.

I feel like I've done a very good job of that when I've come back, and I just need to keep that up because, obviously, it's working.

Q. Brooks, someone in the commentary said that your game is made for the Majors. A, do you agree with that? And, B, now that you've won a few of them, have you set yourself a goal, or do you just want to keep winning and winning and winning? Or have you thought about your legacy, even since Shinnecock?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I would think they suit the Majors, having won three of the last six I've played in. So I guess they suit them. Need to figure out Augusta a little bit, haven't quite had the results there that I've had elsewhere. But this golf course set up beautifully for me. I'm looking forward to the next few years. If I can stay healthy and actually show up to a Major, I feel like I've got a good chance.

THE MODERATOR: PGA Champion Brooks Koepka, fantastic work all week. Thank you for your time. Enjoy the spoils.

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