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August 14, 2019
AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'd like to welcome our defending champion, Keegan Bradley, to the interview room here of the 2019 BMW Championship. Keegan, not only are you defending this year, which you won last year in Philadelphia, but you're coming back to a place that holds a very special memory in your history. Talk about just being back here at Medinah.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it's incredible to be back here at Medinah. I have so many memories of this place. Some of my fondest memories of my life have happened here.
But it's always a treat to play in the BMW in the FedExCup Playoffs because you know you've got a chance to win the whole thing.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: I want to look back last year, it was a pivotal moment for you in your career to win in the playoff. Talk about what that did for your golf game.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it was a big moment in my career because it culminated a lot of hard work and battling back that I had to do. It's a win that I remember most fondly, I think, with my family and with kind of what I had to go through to get back there.
It was just a tournament and a moment I'll never forget the rest of my life.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: You have some work to do this week to make it to the TOUR Championship; what's your game plan here?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Well, yeah. The thing with these Playoffs is anything can happen at any moment. You look at guys last week that were 100 or 70, and all of a sudden they're 20th. There's a lot of points to be had, and with the setup of the TOUR Championship, man, I think more than ever, anyone has a chance to win this whole thing.
Q. Could you just talk about how weird it is to be a defending champ when it's a different course the next year?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I don't think you're technically defending really because it's a different course. But you know, it is different. Normally when you're defending, you're coming back. It's the same clubhouse, same people, same course. This is all different.
But it's still the BMW and it's still a big tournament.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: We have some special guests who have been waiting around for your interview here from the First Tee of greater Chicago. If we can get a mic over to these two, I think they have some questions prepared for Keegan.
Q. Hi, Keegan. I just want to know how you started playing golf and how you developed your skills when you were younger.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Well, my father was a teaching pro, so I was able to go to the course with him, and I would pick the range and I would park the carts, and I loved going to the golf course. It was a fun place for me.
But I fell in love with the game at a very young age. I always loved it. All my other friends hated it. So I was by myself out here playing. I just tried to work as hard as I could. I lived in Vermont, so similar to here, we had a short season, and so I made the most of it when I was able to play.
Q. I was just basically wondering what you think the biggest piece of advice is that you could give to a 13-year-old golfer.
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think most importantly, I tell parents this a lot, too, is to make sure that golf is fun for you. Don't just go hit millions of balls and sit on the range. Make sure you go play with your friends and enjoy being at the golf course. Like I said, I would pick the range sometimes, I would park the carts, and the golf course was a fun place for me. I would make sure that that's most important when you're out there playing.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: Ian Poulter was in here earlier today; he did talk about obviously different memories for him coming back, but there is a lot of memorabilia around the clubhouse. Have you seen any pictures?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I've seen a few pictures. It's a very bittersweet memory because the first -- up until Sunday, it was just the best, and then Sunday was obviously horrible for the U.S. side. But I still have incredible memories and moments that are really career-defining for me and changed kind of -- I really took a different, a bigger step even from winning majors and stuff. I felt like that Ryder Cup made me a much more visible player.
So for me, even though we lost, it's still a great memory.
Q. If you don't reliving a little bit of the Ryder Cup, could you relive the moment when Rory's missing in action and shows up in the cop car coming to the tee and if you had thoughts about that?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I mean, I had already spoken to an official of the PGA saying I'm not going to -- if he's late, I'll let the group go. I'm going to go behind them. There was no DQ or any of that stuff. I was going to -- we were going to play.
Q. Were they okay with that? Were they going to let you do that?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I didn't really care what they thought, to be honest. I wasn't going to just not play. I didn't think -- I don't know, it was really -- honestly, it was unsettling for me, as well, because everyone is talking about it, and everyone is looking around, and then when he shows up, everyone is cheering. It was weird. And then he played great that day. He always does, but he played great. We actually had a great match. But it was unsettling for sure. I'm sure for him, as well.
Q. Did you have any theories about why he was actually late?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No, he's told me before that he looked at the -- he was watching The Golf Channel to get his tee time, and it was in eastern instead of -- is it central here probably? That's what he told me. I can see how you can make that mistake, I guess, yeah.
Q. Do you have a good memory from the first two days of the Ryder Cup that you can --
BROOKS KOEPKA: I do. I was talking today, I have almost on every single hole on this course, I have a standout memory that I can think about, and it's an incredible memory. Like it's something where I made a 40-foot putt and went crazy or Phil hit this shot over a tree and hit it to 10 feet and I made the putt. Very memorable times, almost as if each hole I'd won a tournament on one of these holes. That's kind of how I explain the Ryder Cup is every hole is the 18th hole of a tournament.
Around every corner, even just walking into the locker room, and all of a sudden all these memories flood back of the lockers, and it was my first team event, so it was a pretty intense time.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: As far as the course this year versus 2012 --
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's a lot different. The rough is a lot higher. The rough wasn't that high when we played it. But for the most part, I don't think there's any new tees or anything like that. But the rough out here right now is like a U.S. Open, and it wasn't that bad then.
Q. Poulter wound up purchasing the police car that Rory rode in on, and now it's in his collection and he's going to do some stuff with it. Got it for $7,000. Would you consider buying it, and if you did buy it, what would you do with it?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I'd probably buy it and smash it up somewhere, put it in the lake. No, I think that's -- listen, what Europe did that day was pretty special. Those guys all have their own separate memories, the opposite of mine. Their first three days or two days were awful, and then I remember when Poulter, he made that putt on Saturday. Instead of 11-5 it was 10-6, and that was a big switch there that they rode into the next day.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports