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May 11, 2023

Brooks Koepka

Chase Koepka

Matthew Wolff

Jason Kokrak

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Cedar Ridge Country Club

Smash GC

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Let's welcome Smash GC. We have our captain, Brooks Koepka, Chase Koepka, Matt Wolff and Jason Kokrak. We're going to start out by talking about Smash For Success. This is something you guys have done every domestic event, bringing out high school golf teams in the local area to come spend time with you guys. This week you guys are bringing out Webster High. Can you tell us about this program and what it means to you.

BROOKS KOEPKA: It's a cool program. We're bringing out junior golfers from different high schools, from different events where we're at, and Webster is a Title I school, so it's pretty unique. This week for the first time -- we've brought them out in Orlando, I believe we had nine -- no, I think we had five in Tucson, I believe nine in Orlando. This is the first time we're going to have girls. We're going to have five girls this week. It's cool, right?

Junior golfers getting a new experience, that's what I wanted to do when I was that age, get behind the scenes, see everything, and it'll be really special this week. We're excited, and it's a cool opportunity for us just to get in touch with the younger generation and for them to be behind the scenes and see everything that goes on.

JASON KOKRAK: Yeah, growing up in northeastern Ohio, we only played golf about six months out of the year, and to just have these kids out, I know how it was growing up where I was. It was a blessing to go to a PGA TOUR event. We only had the one at Firestone there for a long time. Going behind the scenes and getting to see these guys up close is a lot of fun, and it kind of drove me to become a professional golfer to see these guys at the elite level.

Q. Matt, you are a bit of a hometown hero this week, hailing from Oklahoma State University. You have a huge crowd supporting you. Does it feel like a home game this week?

MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I'd say like Oklahoma for me kind of feels like -- if not really where I felt like my first home was, definitely my second one now. I live in Jupiter, but every time I come back here, it's a close-knit family here. I feel like the Oklahoma State family in general is just really tight, and there's going to be a lot of people out here from that and supporting that.

We've got I think five or six Oklahoma State Cowboys in the field, so hopefully they come out and bias me more than them. But it'll be a lot of fun to be back here and I'm excited to tee it up with these guys.

Q. Chase, we've got to talk about the hole-in-one. Obviously it was the hole-in-one heard around the world. Tonight you are going to be throwing out the first pitch at the Tulsa drillers game in honor of your hole-in-one. Walk us through what that experience was like and what these last couple weeks have been like for you.

CHASE KOEPKA: Yeah, it was crazy. I mean, the hardest thing that I had to do was hit the tee shot on the 13th hole. I was still so jacked up and everything.

It was amazing that the fans just -- they got behind the whole tournament, and then to give them something like that is something special that they'll always remember. It's pretty cool. That whole entire Sunday after I made it, it was quite amazing. I was getting standing ovations walking up to every tee, and every shot from the fairway, it was something I've never experienced before, something like that. Something pretty cool. Hopefully our team can show some magic this week and give the people of Tulsa something to cheer for.

I'm definitely excited to go throw out the first pitch tonight. I haven't thrown a baseball in quite some time, but hopefully my --

BROOKS KOEPKA: Just don't bounce it.

CHASE KOEPKA: Yeah, yeah. I'm hoping to not give the Koepka name bad genes and duff one here.

Q. When I presented the opportunity to your teammates, they said they wanted to stand in the dugout to cheer you on or boo you in case it bounced.

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, he's going to get chirped bad tonight if it's not a strike. Just don't bounce it, that's all I ask. It can't be that bad.

Q. Brooks, PGA Championship next week; obviously you had an incredible run at the Masters, you've had a lot of success at the PGA Championship. You've been playing lights out. How are you feeling going into next week and really major mode season now?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, this week just trying to make sure I tune everything up, get ready for next week. I like the majors. I like the discipline, the mental grind that comes with it all, the focus, and just use this week to get ready. That's a huge thing.

I've always done it. It's not always about results the week before, but it's about making sure that everything is starting to line up and I can see the progress and see where we're going to be for next week.

Q. You've got about 400 people at LIV Golf cheering you on next week, so good luck.


Q. Matt, I asked the Oklahoma State guys this yesterday and I'll ask you the same question. Can you take us back through the recruiting process and how you got to Oklahoma State, who influenced you the most, that sort of thing?

MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't really say there was any one person that was like very influential in the whole thing. Coming from California, going to Oklahoma State, I think I looked up to guys like Rickie and Kevin Dougherty, and I think there's a few more from California that went to Oklahoma State. I think I used them as kind of like an example of they went there and they became pro and became successful and made it to the next level.

To me, it was just playing the Ping Invitational there for the AJGA tournaments and seeing the facilities, the coaches, how they went about the stuff, the level of camaraderie between the team, the players, and just the way everything was run, I felt like it was very disciplined, but it was also -- you can have fun and they'll reward you if you perform.

I just thought that every aspect from top to bottom at Oklahoma State was exactly how I wanted to see myself playing college golf or around those people. That kind of weighed into my choice more than anything. I don't think there was one person. But probably the best decision of my life, to be honest.

Q. How do you plan to play the 12th hole? Is eight flagpoles enough to prevent you from trying to drive it?

BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't think Chase is going to try to drive it. I don't want to speak for him but I don't think he's going to try. I know I'm not. I'm just going to play it the way the hole is designed.

The way I see it as if you put me in the fairway from 120 yards I'm going to have a good look at birdie every time, but going for that green, the water, the trees, you never know where that ball is going to end up. I like my chances with a wedge in my hand.

JASON KOKRAK: Same for me. I looked at it, but it's just the risk-reward is just -- I don't think it's there, especially you can hit 4-iron, 3-iron off the tee and wedge into the green, and as Brooks said, 120 yards and in we're going to be pretty deadly and give ourselves a pretty good birdie look.

MATTHEW WOLFF: Probably not. I cut my driver, and I like to cut my driver when I hit it good and draw my irons and stuff, so that hole kind of sets up for me to just put something out there and then have a wedge. Beyond that, like Brooks said, the risk-reward, there's just too many places that your ball can end up going for the green that you're kind of screwed, and if you miss the fairway, then it's not easy, but you have an iron in your hand.

Q. Brooks, going from a LIV Golf tournament event like this to the PGA Championship, different vibes between the two with the music and the crazier crowds, does it take some adjustment as a golfer to go from this directly to a PGA Championship?

BROOKS KOEPKA: No, honestly, a major I'm so focused and -- I mean, honestly the crazier things are, the more it slows down for me, the more focused I get, the more tunnel vision I have. I feel like a lot of great athletes have that same thing. The more chaotic everything is going on around, the slower everything is for me.

That's what I live for. I live for the majors, and that's where I'm trying to perform.

Q. You announced recently that you have a child on the way; does that change your perspective at all being a golfer and knowing that you have a kid coming?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, no, I mean, right now it's still the same thing. I'm still busting my butt at home, out here grinding, but when that boy comes, yeah, it's going to be a little bit of an eye-opening for me, and it'll be fun.

I think when I talk to different guys, perspectives change. I feel like I've got a good head on my shoulders and understand that golf isn't my happiness. Golf isn't my life, especially when he comes, it'll be a little bit of a culture change for me, I guess.

But as far as golf comes, like I said, that'll be my happiness at that point.

Q. How are you feeling?

BROOKS KOEPKA: I feel good. I feel great. Worked hard over the last few months to make sure that we don't have any problems, so I feel good.

Q. Brooks, I had a question for you about the PGA Championship. Going into the Masters, you guys played Orange County National the week before, and the greens were cranked up and pretty fast. I talked to the greenskeeper here yesterday. He said that they were running at maybe 11, and the rain is going to probably slow them down a bit. Is that going to affect you going into next week, because Oak Hill, those things are going to be lightning.

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, honestly, no. To be honest with you, I'm just trying to get reps. That's it. That's all I think the week before a major really is is just making sure you -- it's just hitting golf shots, trying to hit different shots, make sure you've got everything in the bag, I'm hitting in the right window, controlling the spin, controlling distances. When you look at the greens, we're used to changing green speeds every week. When you play three, four weeks in a row like I'm going to these next three weeks, there's not one surface that's the same, same speed, same undulation, everything.

You've just got to spend your Monday -- well, I didn't get here until Tuesday night, but you spend the first couple days, I was here yesterday all day grinding on the putting green trying to make sure we got the speed down, doing different drills just to make sure. I'll be all right.

Q. What experience do you have at Oak Hill?

BROOKS KOEPKA: I played it -- actually it was the first time Ricky ever caddied for me. He showed up 30 minutes late. I can't believe he's still with me, but we worked it out. Yeah, it'll be, what, 10 years since we've been back? It's my first PGA Championship. I know I played with Tiger in the final round and all my boys came -- a bunch of them were from Boston, so they were all pissed off because they couldn't see anything. They were all mad; they were hoping I'd have somebody else so they could watch some golf shots.

It was a cool week, a fun week for me. It'll be cool to go back. I know the golf course has changed, been redesigned a little bit. I don't think there's as many trees, but it'll be cool for me and Rick.

Q. Matt, I'm curious, how many times have you played this course in the past?


Q. Is there anything you've told these guys about playing golf in Oklahoma? Just the wind, things they need to adjust to play golf in this state?

MATTHEW WOLFF: You guys want to hear what I have to say?


MATTHEW WOLFF: These guys know what they're doing. They've played in wind before. They've played in Open Championships and different conditions and stuff. I've never played the course, so I can't really give them any course knowledge, and playing in the wind, it blows. I played at Karsten for Oklahoma State, so it was a little different golf course, very tree-lined chutes and the wind kind of swirls there, but here it's a little bit more open, so you feel like it's kind of easier to feel where it's coming from. But no, these guys are good. I'm not worried about giving them any advice. They can handle it.

Q. Brooks, you talked about playing the way the hole is designed. How aggressively do you feel like you can play a lot of the holes or is it going to be more playing how it's designed all day?

BROOKS KOEPKA: A lot of that's going to depend on wind conditions, pin locations, everything like that. I don't have any game plan going into anything until I step on that tee box. I don't look at the hole locations before. I don't look at anything. Whenever I get to the tee, it's let's figure it out.

I think the way these bunkers are kind of set up, you try and avoid the fairway bunkers at all costs. I think that'll be kind of key if you can take two out and put one into play, yeah, it might be worth hitting driver or something like that.

Yeah, just put the ball in the fairway. You can control it here.

Q. Brooks, my question is if you could pick one trait that you could pass along from yourself and one trait you could pass along from your wife, what two traits would it be?

BROOKS KOEPKA: I hope he gets a lot more traits from my wife than he does me. I think me probably discipline. I think I'm pretty disciplined when it comes down to work. And then my wife's sense of humor. You always want to be funny, right?

Q. Jason, are you the only experienced father of the group?

JASON KOKRAK: As far as I know, yeah. (Laughter).

Q. What advice will you pass along to your captain?

JASON KOKRAK: I've told this to a number of other guys, there's nothing to prepare you to be a father. Boy or girl, you just kind of wake up instinctually and you just start caring for the little boy or girl. He's more than prepared. He's taken care of himself, and I think he's going to be a great father.

Q. You've had the unique opportunity of growing up and playing golf with your brother. What's it like? Do you have a great childhood memory of that, and what's it like being on the same team with him?

CHASE KOEPKA: Yeah, it's been great getting to spend more time with Brooks, being able to learn from him. He's always been someone for me to lean on, and LIV Golf has allowed us to get closer to each other. That's been fantastic for me, my family.

Growing up, we played every day, especially in the summertime. We'd go out to -- it was called Okeeheelee Golf Course, and we'd go out from sunup to sundown playing almost every single day. We've had some really cool memories. We've had some really cool fights out on the golf course. But that's what brothers are supposed to do.

Q. Brooks, I think it's really cool what you're doing with the kids from Webster. We've been blessed with two major events in the last two years. Do you have a favorite thing about Tulsa?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Honestly I would say tonight will be pretty cool. Minor league baseball is pretty sweet. I love it. During tournament weeks, I'm about as boring as anybody. Go to the gym at like 6:15, 6:30 this morning and I don't do anything. I don't get out.

I've got good memories just from the last time I enjoyed the city. I thought it was great, last night going to the BMX -- it would be considered Hall of Fame?

Q. Training center?

BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, the training center was pretty cool just to see that and see what those guys go through. It's neat. Those are really the only things I've done unfortunately just because I'm so focused on what I've got to do. But I'd love to see it. It's been great so far.

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