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November 10, 2020

Brooks Koepka

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We welcome Brooks Koepka to the interview room. There are champions and there are champions.
Brooks has won two U.S. Opens and two PGA championships, and last year's Masters, Brooks fired an opening round 66, and then went on to finish runner‑up in the tournament.
Brooks, welcome. And would you please tell us what you've been focused on and preparing for this year's Masters.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it's obviously nice to be back. The course, I don't know how it's going to be with the rain. You know, it looks like it's going to rain later today, the next few days. Could play a little softer. You know, who knows what the wind is going to do with the storm moving through.
It could be playing quite difficult, just with the wind, being a little softer, the ball, instead of maybe bouncing up on the flat, it might be just on the upslope. Might be a little bit different. But the course is in good shape, so we'll see.

Q. Where are you at with your knee and hip? How are you feeling?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Everything's fine. I feel normal. Knee feels good. Hip, I haven't had an issue with. Nice to have those two months rehabbing in San Diego and getting everything straightened away. Vegas was more just see how everything holds up and see where I'm at and it felt good. Went right back to San Diego again to keep training with Derek, and back to normal, so finally it feels nice.

Q. What did last week show you?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, I'm hitting it good. I knew I was hitting it good. I knew I was playing good. Just shouldn't have put that new driver in. That's all. That's all it showed. A lot of my equipment's a couple years ago. My driver is a model or two old. I've had it for two years. Wedges, hitting an older model wedge.
Just stick with what I know. I've never tinkered with things, and stick with what you know. The beginning of the year, I was getting fitted or it and my body wasn't right, so I couldn't do the things I wanted to do. I was like, hey, I'm playing well, see where it goes, numbers look good.
But it's a different game when you're hitting on the range versus when you get out on the course and what you see.

Q. Climate aside, what differences do you see here in November, as opposed to April, subtle or otherwise?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Just a little softer than what you would normally see in April. It all depends, I mean, they can change this golf course overnight. They can make it firm and fast if they want to. They can speed the greens up and make them nice and firm. A lot of times we see it on Wednesday afternoon to Thursday, the golf course can change quite a bit.
So as of right now, it's just a little softer, but that could change.

Q. Each year you've played here, you've improved pretty dramatically in your finish from the year before. What is it you've learned about the place or, you know, makes you feel maybe more comfortable about playing here?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think the one thing I've learned over the years is just where to miss your golf shots. If you do get into trouble, there's different angles to different pins. Like I think 13 is a great example. You could, depending on where that pin is, if it's in the back shelf there or if it's in the front, your layup is a completely different line. It's a different yardage, too. You're trying to get closer to one and further away for the other.
You just have to play it enough. You watch guys, you talk to guys that have played here, and you really see those little nuances, those little differences in just hitting it to the same exact spot every time; that on a normal golf course, that's what you do, you lay it up to 50, 60 yards. But might not be best for the angles here, especially the greens are so undulating. Sometimes you want it to be maybe a little flatter on the layup or you're trying to run it up the slope.

Q. Given your success closing out major championships, how much did what happened last year here hurt?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, it hurt, physically. That wasn't fun. But I mean, I put myself in contention over the last, I don't know, four years, feels like pretty much every time, even the PGA TOUR, it was right there on Sunday. Try to get it done. It was just body wouldn't let me do it.
It was nice to be back to normal and feeling good, because I like the way I'm playing. Hitting it good, putting it good, and doing everything right, and I guess just shows all the hard work for those two months that I missed.

Q. Did Tiger give you the needle at all about what happened at 12 last year?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No. I don't‑‑ I haven't talked to him really that much. I haven't seen him this week. I might, I think, text randomly, but it's not that much. I haven't talked to him. He knows he got one, but I got one on him at‑‑ what was it? Bellerive. He said something walking off 18 last year, like 1‑1 now, something like that, so fair play to him.

Q. Can you describe what you have done to be Masters ready both physically and mentally entering the week?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Physically, it was a pain. Those two months in La Jolla there. I was in Boston the week of the FedExCup events or one of the playoff events and got a shot on Monday in my hip and stayed there for another week with my boys and then straight out to California and started everything over.
It's been a grind. I had to get my leg stronger just to be able to support my knee and having Derek work on it every day for, I don't know, 40‑some days straight, definitely helped.
Sometimes for me, it's easier to actually focus when I'm on the road more than when I'm home. I feel like it's more my element. When you're out here playing, you're on the road, it's easy to focus. But sometimes when you're at home you have some distractions and things like that.
It was nice to be out there and only have one goal every day, was just to go in the gym, go do rehab, get everything done, and I feel good.

Q. You've said before how everything looks perfect here; it almost feels fake. What will you miss most about the look of an April Masters compared to this one here in November?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Just the fans. I played it twice I think on the Sunday before, where there's nobody here. Maybe in like '18 or '17, something like that. It's weird because you can see almost every hole when you're standing on 1 tee, you can look out and see everything. I'm not used to that.
It was weird at that time and now you get to the first tee and you can see everything. You're not going to hear the roars that you're used to hearing, so that will be quite different. But at the same time, there's plenty of leaderboards out there. You can figure out what's going on. I think that's what makes the place so exciting is to hear those roars, and when you hear them, it doesn't matter where you are on the golf course. You almost can tell by the roar who the player is, who or what they did, and what hole it's coming from, which I think is pretty unique.

Q. Bryson said he was still tinkering with a 48‑inch driver, possibly using this week, how much of an advantage, if at all, is his length and is there a point where long becomes too long?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No, I mean, still got to hit the fairways, still got to hit it close and still got to make the putts. The longer you hit it, obviously it becomes a little bit more difficult to put it in the fairway. Your misses become a little bit wider. I have no idea. If he wants to putt 48‑driver in, good for him.
I just don't‑‑ I mean, it's going to be an advantage. Length is always an advantage. He's done a good job of working. He's worked his tail off to hit it that far. It's worked for him, so...

Q. Have you been 100 percent healthy in any of your major wins?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I mean I've been pretty close. You're never 100 percent, but I was pretty close. There's always something. I feel just as good as I did at Bellerive, Bethpage, all those. Every one, felt this good.

Q. Which is the last time you felt this good with your body?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Maybe beginning, middle of '19, I would say. Towards the end I could feel my knee, or maybe before I slipped in Korea.

Q. Do you regret not taking time off earlier to heal up properly?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No, it's not that I regret not taking time off. The one thing I regret is not really doing the right things. It was more, I don't want to say I was slacking, but I didn't put the effort I needed to to rehab. And that's on me, so I've got to live with that.
I didn't‑‑ I just thought there was a certain point, you know, I trained so hard, done all that before the Masters last‑‑ last year, where I was like, I'm just going to take some time off from the gym. I've worked hard enough. I want to, you know, take a few months. Then just became lazy. Simple. I didn't work hard enough, and kind of had to redevote myself to working out in the gym, making sure that I'm getting better, because that's the whole point of trying to get better. You're not trying to stay the same.

Q. Has Bryson seemed to surpass you in terms of the workout effort?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I'm only worried about me, man. I'm only worried about me. Nobody else out here is going to make me go lift in the gym. Nobody else out here is going to go make me work harder on the golf course. I'm worried about myself, just do what I got to do, take care of what I got to take care of, and they can do whatever they want to do.

Q. Do you like the fact that you are coming in a little bit under the radar this time?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's up to you guys. I'm just going about my business doing what I've got to do. Not worried about what anybody says or what anybody does. Just focused on my own game and from there, just go win.

Q. Have you or your team‑‑ have your team given you any bulletin board material this week?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No. I've learned one thing in those two months, I learned get off social media, get off all this stuff and just work. If you work, everything takes care of itself, and that's what I've been doing.
THE MODERATOR: We'll let you get back to it. Thanks for your time today and we wish you the very best this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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