home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 13, 2019

Brooks Koepka

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Brooks Koepka to the interview room here at the 2019 PLAYERS Championship. Brooks, pretty strong season thus far, one win, first start of the season and then the runner-up at Honda a couple weeks ago. Just talk about how you're feeling, how the game is feeling coming into this week and how your preparations have been thus far.

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it feels nice to be here. Any time you're at THE PLAYERS it's always fun. Tough golf course, it's going to be playing a lot different than it has been in years past and just got to get out there and swing and ding it.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Could you just talk about what your mindset was after you went through the whole injury process and then following that up by virtually 12 months of just unbelievable golf. I mean, I'm sure injuries caused you to have doubts, but I'm just wondering, did it cause you to have doubt about the progress you could make in your game?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think when I was on the sideline, yeah. I wasn't sure. You never know because I'm not out testing it, I couldn't even pull a sheet up over me without being in pain. So I didn't know where it was going to be. I didn't know if I was ever going to swing it the same, didn't know if it was going to have to make adjustments in the swing and never be the same player.

But the second you get out there and I started hitting balls, I mean, this is what I do. I'm not going to -- if I'm going to go out because of injury I would rather go out giving it my all and know, hey, I tried to come back and it wouldn't let me, and thankfully it was, everything was fine.

Q. As a follow-up, once you won the first big one how much confidence did that give you to keep going?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Which big one? That year or the year before?

Q. Well, the year before. After the year before. The one after the U.S. Open after the injury.
BROOKS KOEPKA: I knew I was playing well. I knew it was around the corner, I felt -- I can find of feel it a couple weeks out whether I'm going to play well. I know if I'm making, going around the corner a little bit, I know I'm turning it and I know when I'm going to play well. I can kind of see it a couple weeks out and I felt at Colonial was a big week. I was striking it the way I wanted to, I was putting well, I knew I wasn't going to catch Rosey. Obviously he was playing so good, but I could tell that I was going to pop off a big win there shortly.

Q. Guys have talked about how much longer this golf course is going to play this time of year versus in May. But can you give some examples on specific holes of differences in clubs?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I was talking to Tiger yesterday and he said he hit 3-wood, I think 3-iron into 18. It all depends the wind direction, what it's going to be. 17 you could be hitting an 8-iron. I haven't played 17 yet this week, but there's a lot of holes. I am used to hitting -- on 11, used to hitting iron in and I had to hit 3-wood today. 12, I mean driver in the right wind might not even get there. I mean, I lay up on that hole most of the time, but with a 6-iron and then a wedge, and now it's a 3-iron and a good wedge.

So it will be interesting which way -- I don't know which way the wind's supposed to blow from, but it will definitely make this golf course a lot more difficult. Can't even reach 9, couldn't even reach 9 yesterday. That just shows you how different it's playing.

Q. Your history here hasn't been that big yet, but last year's finish, does that give you sort of confidence that you're trending forward to play, to have better results here?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It doesn't matter what you do in years previous. It's all about -- you could -- as long as you're playing good right now, it doesn't matter the golf course. If you're playing good you should pick it apart and should play well. Course history isn't what you guys make it up to be, I don't think. I've seen guys show up to an event and not see the golf course and win.

Q. Speaking to that then, last year you were coming in off the break and whatnot. How much more prepared are you for this place compared to last year?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Not any more prepared. If you're going to play an event, I'm prepared to play it. It's all about, I think you come in and you're well rested, are you focused, and how you're playing. That's all it comes down to. If you've got confidence with your golf game or with your swing or putter or whatever, it doesn't matter where you're playing, you're going to have confidence, and just one week or a couple bad shots isn't going to throw it off.

Q. Back to the golf course, the way the rough is being presented this year, do you see that? Besides the course playing longer, do you see that possibly encouraging a little more use of driver, a little more aggressiveness off the tee here?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think so. I think you're definitely going to have to have a few more drivers in hand. Going back to your question, I think it was, I hit driver, 6-iron into 7 yesterday. And I've hit 3-iron and 9-iron off that hole. So you can't hit 5- and 4-iron out of this rough and you can't play it the way you used to. You've got to be more aggressive. With it being soft it kind of widens the fairways a little bit, the ball isn't going to roll as much, so I think it definitely plays into the longer hitters' hands and you can definitely have driver out quite a bit more.

Q. You've won three major championships since the last time you played in the Masters. How hard was it not being able to play that last year and the considering the form that you've been in in the last year and what do you think you'll take back there going this time from what you've learned in the three major wins?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Just confidence. I've got a lot more confidence now than I've ever had. That's all it is. The majors are, I don't want to say easier, but I feel it kind of is. You've got so many guys playing, a couple of them are mentally going to beat themselves up. Just in contention, if it's tough, certain guys are going to throw themselves out, and it really kind of whittles down to a few players. Especially by Saturday you can pretty much almost predict who is going to be there come Sunday.

That's what I love about going to a major. Half the guys you've already beat them by the time you've stepped on the first tee. But Augusta, yeah, you've got to have some knowledge. I'm excited to get back there. I'm always excited for a major, but it will be nice to go back as an actual major champion for the first time. It will be nice.

Q. I was talking to Peter Uihlein earlier as a first-time participant for him. I know him and you played a Challenge Tour in Europe back in 2012 and parts of 2013. The PGA TOUR now has a third-tier Mackenzie Tour in Latin America, and a lot of college kids coming out are choosing that route. Just a question to you is how much fun was it for you to go that Euro route, even go to places like Kazakhstan and Kenya? What do you recall from that experience, and what do you message to these college kids that are not playing that route?
BROOKS KOEPKA: You need to go out and go play four days. If I went and go and tried to chase Monday qualifiers, I might get in four of them. Monday qualifiers are hard. You've got to shoot 65 or sometimes even lower. You're not going to be able to do that every week.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of the best players out here, even if they went to go chase Mondays they're not going to get in very many events. You go play four days, learn how to handle yourself under tournament conditions, and it's a lot different than firing at every flag for 18 holes. You got to put up a score each day. I think it's the best route. You got to find a place you can play for four days and really build your game. You'll find out who you are pretty quickly.

Q. During your time at Florida State was there anything that you learned that you've taken with you since then?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Probably just how to manage myself a lot better. I had to grow up quit a bit, mature a little bit as a player. As an 18 year old you think you know it all but you definitely don't. You just find out who you really are. I think college golf, it either takes you one way or the other. You can become really good or you can go down hill pretty quickly. I was lucky enough to kind of stay on the right path, keep grinding and came out on the other side. But I think it's important just to stay focused on what you're doing, but I enjoyed my time at Florida State all four years. I would love to go back knowing what I know now. It would be a lot of fun.

Q. The type of competition that you played against being such high level, how do you think that prepared you for the high-level competition on the TOUR?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I mean I would say there's probably 20 kids that I played college golf against, Amateur golf, junior golf with, that are out here now. I mean it's -- you know pretty much the guys that are going to make it and the guys that aren't. You see them week in, week out, and every few years there's always a better and better group of younger kids that keep coming out and they're impressive to watch. I can only imagine where the TOUR's going to be in 10 years. With how hard and the speed these guys have now, they're ready to actually play at 18 and 19 where I wasn't. It will be interesting.

Q. Stringing together consecutive cuts as you have over a long stretch, do you feel like that's sort of easy to overlook, and how big of a deal is that to you, just that consistency?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I'm starting over this week.

Q. I know. But before?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I always took a lot of pride in that. It bugged me a lot last week. I mean I've missed three cuts in the last three years. Two of them are at Bay Hill. So I think you can figure it out from there. Yeah, I mean I enjoyed that, I enjoyed being very consistent and making sure that when you don't have your game, you don't have your A game that you're still able to compete and be there on the weekend. I think that's very important.

Your top level's always going to be up here. You're just always trying to rise it on the bottom. I've felt like I've done a much better job of that over the last few years, and even putting myself in contention. I thought Honda week I didn't play that great, but being able to still be there with a chance to win on Sunday was impressive, and I need to do -- obviously improve on that a little bit, so you don't have many of those days.

Q. Can you compare what you feel like standing over a putt that you need to make the cut versus standing over a putt for a win? Is there any comparison?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No, I don't think there is. There's no pressure on trying to make a cut and not. Either you're going to do it or you're not. But when you start thinking about winning or winning an event, there's a lot more pressure. You're always going to have next week to make the cut; you might not have the next week to actually win. And I think winning is important and obviously it is, but you might only have seven, eight times a year where you really got a chance to win, and you've really got to capitalize on that. Where you tee it up every week, you've got a chance to make the cut or you should make the cut. Sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise, whether you're tired, whatever reason, and kind of reassess or take some days off, but I don't think there's any similarities in that.

Q. What kind of training aids do you use, how many, and if you looked at those, whether it's TrackMan or a phone for video or whatever and you could only use one, which one could you not live without?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I bought a TrackMan and I've used it probably once. So I would say maybe the phone. I just look at the swing really quick for like two things. I keep it really simple. If you're going to -- I always compare it to like shooting a free throw if you're a basketball player, make it a reaction sport instead of trying to fundamentally think about everything. I think you can get caught up in trying to put your swing here or there or whatever, but it's never going to be in the same place two days in a row. It might look it, but it's never going to be exactly the same. I don't use any training aids. I just try to make sure posture's good, I just go PGA. Pretty simple: Posture, grip and alignment. I try to make those things the same every day and then just go from there.

Q. Where is that TrackMan now?
BROOKS KOEPKA: My brother stole it. My brother asked me a couple weeks ago, he was like, um, he's like, hey, I know you don't use that TrackMan, but I was like, yeah, just take it if you want it. So he's got it right now. He's working on it.

Q. Have you seen the trophy for THE PLAYERS Championship yet?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I have. I've seen it.

Q. Does it ever make you wonder why all the trophies in golf are silver?
BROOKS KOEPKA: (Laughs.) That's a good point. I never thought of that. Yeah. I mean gold is pretty nice. Ask Rosey.

Q. Do you have any gold trophies in your life? Medals don't count.
BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't think. So it would always be nice to have one. Add one this week.

Q. Couple things, really, pertaining to the Feherty interview the other night. You seemed to imply in there that you feel compelled now to give more forceful opinions when you're asked about various subjects. Is this a result of your success or is it just a matter of you have just a better comfort at doing it now?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think a lot of it has to do with you guys asking questions. Before the only thing I ever heard was my time in the Challenge Tour, how I'm playing that week, the basic questions. I think you guys started to give me a little bit different questions, I'll answer them. I have no problem answering them. But if you're going to give me the same -- if I hear -- I mean, I've heard the Challenge Tour question 500 times. I don't know how many times I can give you a different answer. I'm going to try to give you something, but I mean, if you are going to ask me something that's different than the normal basic question, I'll give you an answer to it. I think that's just come down to more people are asking me different questions now and I've got no problem answering them.

Q. As a follow-up, you implied that you used to have problems with controlling your emotions, controlling things. What timeline are we talking about, what age are we talking about when you had these issues?
BROOKS KOEPKA: All through college. I couldn't understand why if I hit a 7-iron 15 feet right to when I first got out on the Challenge Tour to maybe even my first year out here, really struggled with trying to manage that accepting of an okay shot where it's a lot different in junior golf and college golf, you can fire at the flags, where out here if you really make a mistake you're most likely going to make bogey. I didn't really understand that it's different; it's different than junior golf; it's different than -- there's a lot more pressure out here, too, and really just understanding that controlling your misses, as long as you can keep them in a consistent area, you're fine. Where it's not just go out, see flag, and then fire at it. It's a lot different now.

Q. On these last couple of topics, a lot of young players are encouraged to pursue speed as the way to kind of start the game and get going and then learn the rest later. Do you see a danger in that with that mentality of pursuing that over learning how to score and learning how to play golf?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think you can always learn how to score. I think the speed, if you can get -- when you get a young kid, seven, eight years old, I would just tee everything up and let them hit it as far as they can. I mean, first off, they're going to get interested in the game. Nobody wants to duff one 20 yards in front of you and hit it sideways and I mean they're not going to become interested real quick. They want to -- if you tee it up, just let them see how far they can hit it and get them interested and then keep going from there. You can always bring it in. You can always tone it back. It's hard to get some guy that's got a hundred-mile-an-hour club head speed to all of a sudden go to 120. It's just not going to happen. Speed, you either have it or you don't.

But you can figure out how to score. I mean, we're still figuring it out sometimes. You try to figure out a bad day, how to get the best score possible or even trying to get uncomfortable even if you're 9-, 10-under and just playing at home. Trying to get a little bit uncomfortable where if you've never shot 59, you're on 59 watch or whatever or just at home trying to get a little bit uncomfortable.

Q. Has your search for motivation become any harder the better you've got?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I think sometimes I do expect a little bit more of myself. I'm in a different position. I don't want to say -- I think for for awhile right after the PGA it was, okay, well, why have I not won any regular TOUR events. And then figured that out, and then I figured that out why I haven't. I just don't -- I don't bring the same intensity and I almost expect to win, and I think when you expect to win you're not always going to do that. And then you're looking at failure. And that's sometimes tough to deal with. Then all of a sudden you back it off and just go, okay, at the majors I'm accepting of whatever happens, even if I make a double, a bogey, hit a bad shot, okay, it's fine. I can deal with that. Kind of live in the moment. Where out here I'm already thinking of why don't I have a four-shot lead on Friday.

And that was -- that's been part of the problem. Sometimes the game does come easy to me, and I'm like, well, how can I just not keep going and going and going at that rate. You just got to take a step back and just let things come, because you're going to make bad swings, you're going to make dumb decisions out there, and you just got to move on with it, and I'm able to move on with that in majors where in the regular TOUR events I'm not.

Q. So where does this week fit in then?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's an important week. I'm trying to treat it like a major. I'm trying to treat every event like a major. Coming down from my routine to how I prepare, not out there grinding all day every day, trying to fine-tune everything. I think it's important to, the major weeks I just go play nine holes and come and hit a few balls and then I leave. I keep it very simple. I'm trying not to be tired. And then regular weeks I would go out and the routine is way different. So trying to match it up and trying to not play less but just put a little bit more of importance on each week.

THE MODERATOR: Brooks, thanks for the time. Good luck this week.

BROOKS KOEPKA: Thanks. Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297