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April 11, 2019

Brooks Koepka

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, like to welcome Brooks Koepka to the media center who is tied for the lead after the first round of the 2019 Masters with a bogey‑free 6‑under par 66.
He had birdies on holes 2 and 10, four consecutive birdies from holes 12 through 15.
Brooks, can you talk us through your birdies on holes 12 to 15.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, just to kind of keep it in between the hole in those bunkers on 12 was a good shot. The wind was just swirling everywhere there, and to actually hit it on the fringe wasn't exactly the easiest spot to putt from, and once it gets on that green, it's going straight away from you, and I wasn't sure if I hit it hard enough and it actually dropped, which was nice, and then, you know, an easy two‑putt birdie on 13.
And then 14, to make a nice little putt, I got two good reads off Jordan and Paul to kind of know what the ball was doing, and that helped.
Then on 15, hit it right off the tee and got lucky. It bounced in the fairway and hit it ‑‑ kind of didn't know what to hit from the middle of the fairway, so we just kind of blasted it long right of the green and got it up‑and‑down.
THE MODERATOR: You seem to love the major championships.
THE MODERATOR: You've got yourself into a lovely groove. It's been a fantastic run that you've had in the last 18 months or so. Can you talk us through why it's working for you at the moment in the majors?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I keep pretty much the same routine for all the majors. It's very simple. There's no added stress during the week. It's pretty much the same people that are staying with me.
And yeah, we're all very comfortable. We pretty much know each other, like family at this point. I mean, we've done probably four years worth of majors, so 16 events, and you know, I just enjoy the big stage. I enjoy major championships. I mean, that's what you're remembered by.

Q. You always talk about how confident you are going into a major. When does that confidence start really going on the uptick? A week before a major? When you get here? When you get to play the first round? When does your confidence start building?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think it's whenever I walk on the grounds. I get to whatever major championship it is and just when I arrive there, I just get a good feeling. I don't know‑‑ I don't know how to explain it. I'm just dialed in and I'm focused the entire week. I try to relax Monday through Wednesday. I just play nine holes every day just to kind of save some energy, and by that time, I've probably already played the golf course a couple times.
Here, you obviously know it a little more because we play the same one every year, but really just relax and try to focus on the little things, and here, just spend a little more time on the greens.

Q. When you tee off last, like you did today, how much do you consider the early rounds that other people have shot, maybe who is on top of the leaderboard?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Doesn't matter to me. I watched a little bit of the golf in the morning just to kind of see the pin locations. I only got to see probably the first five holes and that was really it, just to kind of see where guys were hitting it, and get a good idea of where things were. You know, if putts were moving a little bit more or not.
But I mean, I could care less what other people are doing. Doesn't matter to me. I'm there to play a round of golf, and whatever they do isn't going to affect me.

Q. You talked about being a little sluggish the last three weeks. How do you feel today compared to the last three weeks, and what do you do to kill time before rounds now that you're not lifting weights?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I felt great the last two weeks. It was THE PLAYERS where I felt the worst.
It's just trying to make sure I'm eating a little bit better this week. My chef is cooking up some good food and trying to make sure I'm on the right diet, and I just hang out. Try to sleep in, but I'm not very good at that.
Just kind of hang around and watch some TV and try to stay active doing some stuff. I mean, it is kind of odd having so much time and not going to the gym. It's kind of weird. It feels weird.

Q. What's the biggest difference between the guy that walked off the final green in the final round in 2017 and the guy that's sitting here now?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think just an understanding of how to play and handle the bigger tournaments, and understanding how to deal with pressure a little bit better. Understanding where to miss it. I think sometimes maybe was a little bit too aggressive. I'm super aggressive at a normal event, and that kind of backfires sometimes.
But at a major, just know there's 72 holes, so I kind of let things brush off my back a little bit easier. I don't take anything, I could three‑putt on 8; I mean, I just kind of, whatever.
But in a normal event, that really would have drove me nuts. I would have been sitting there for probably five minutes trying to figure out what I did wrong. But I just let things go a lot easier and I'm just on to the next shot in majors.

Q. Following up on what you said, not letting other people affect you, there was so much positive energy out there. Did you notice that, and does it affect you at all?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, especially here, the patrons are always very supportive and they are always cheering for you and always giving you a round of applause, and not yelling for you, but they are cheering for you. It's a good feeling any time you walk up onto a green and, you know, guys, everyone is standing up, giving you applause. I mean, a lot of it's for Jordan since he won here, but it's always a good feeling when you're walking onto a tee or a green.

Q. What the other players are doing, DeChambeau is getting a lot of birdies and Phil almost got a hole‑in‑one. There's a lot of positive stuff guys are doing. How does that impact you, if at all?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I'm not playing with them, so I don't really see them. I don't know. I can only watch Paul Casey and Jordan Spieth play golf. Can't really watch anybody else. I have a hard enough time doing that as it is.
I'm focused on what I've got to do.

Q. There were challenging hole locations out there today, and a lot of guys struggled. You made it look pretty easy. Could you speak to the accomplishment of not dropping any shots out there?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, that was probably the best ball‑striking round I've had in a major championship, I would say. I left myself with a lot of good looks. Hit a lot of good putts. Just didn't make too many. You know, kind of fell in love with the line there on 16, and 18, actually hit a good putt, just didn't drop.
I was very impressed with putting the ball in the fairway. I drove it and I shaped it, flighted it, and coming into the greens, controlling the spin, trajectory, everything there was about as good as I could have hit it today.

Q. Before today, what would you have considered your best ball‑striking round in a major?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Mmm, that's a good one. I don't know. Maybe the final round Erin Hills, I think was probably the best ball‑striking round.
Yeah, I'd probably say that one.

Q. You were standing on 15 tee for about ten minutes just chatting with Paul and Jordan. What do you try to do when there's a lull in play, and then what did you think of the pace of play today?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't remember what we were talking about. I think we were just talking about whatever was going on. I think Jordan‑‑ talking about Jordan's driver might be cracked, I don't know. Said it happened to him a couple years ago. Just talk about random things, what's going on in guys' lives.
We were on that tee for, what did you say, probably 10, 15 minutes? It was a long wait. I mean, the pace of play is never good anywhere. I think I'm a good ambassador for that (smiling).
But I mean, it did get gusty. The wind was kind of up there, and the last hour of play it was starting to pick up, and so I definitely think it was a lot tougher, so I understand. There's a lot of shots with water, and if you're going to have guys taking drops and walking back, it's going to slow play down a little bit.
But I mean, I think we played the front nine in almost three hours, which isn't that good.

Q. There was a bunch of talk this week about you having lost too much weight and it possibly affected your game. I don't know if you heard any of that. But what is your side of that story or how do you explain this?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Well, I lift all the time. I lift too many weights, and I'm too big to play golf. And then when I lose weight, I'm too small. So, I don't know (laughter). I don't know what to say. I'm too big and I'm too small.
Listen, I'm going to make me happy. I don't care what anybody else says. I'm doing it for me, and obviously it seems to work.

Q. It looks like‑‑
BROOKS KOEPKA: I knew I was going to be ready for this week. Yeah, you know, I didn't feel the greatest at THE PLAYERS, but you know, I'm not going to jeopardize a major championship.

Q. I wanted to ask you on your streak there from 12 to 15, that's a pretty nice streak in any major here in Augusta. What's going through your mind when things are just working well during that 30‑‑ or I guess an hour period?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Absolutely nothing. I don't want to say you kind of black out, but you just kind of‑‑ you're not really thinking about anything. You make it kind of a reaction sport. That's kind of how‑‑ you see the ball, you kind of see your shot, and then whatever you see and just pull the trigger and go.
You're not thinking about anything. You're not thinking about missing. You're not thinking about the trouble. To be honest with you, I'm not even really thinking about it going in. My mind goes blank. It seems like an hour period where that goes by in about five, ten minutes.

Q. Any reason for why the ball‑striking was so good today? Anything you're working on this week that kind of came together?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I've been working on the last week just trying to make sure my transition is a little smoother and the clubface is coming a little more from the outside, so I feel like I've got the shot I hit with the driver mostly where it's a fairway finder, and I kind of implemented that throughout the rest of the game today and just felt like I was doing‑‑ I had an easier time covering the golf ball that way. I've just been a little under and stuck in transition, and that's why I haven't played good, not for anything else.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations, Brooks, and good luck the rest of the tournament.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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