Get to Know Brooks
May 18, 2019

15 Things You Need To Know About Brooks Koepka

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151029_GolfDigest_BrooksKoepka-90.jpg

How familiar are you with four-time major champion Brooks Koepka? Beyond just that he hits the ball forever off the tee, seems to contend in every major, sometimes plays with a chip on his shoulder and has had a running feud with Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee? Well, here are a few things you need to know about the four-time major winning 30-year-old.

Koepka has his name littered all over the PGA Championship record book after his success at Bethpage Black.

Koepka already held the record for lowest 72-hole score in the championship after shooting a 264 (16 under) at Bellerive a year ago en route to his victory. But with a 63 in the opening round at Bethpage he grabbed a share of the low 18-hole score, and when he followed it up with a 65 on Friday, his 128 total became the lowest first 36-hole score not just in the PGA but in any major championship. His seven-stroke lead after 36 holes was the largest in PGA history, breaking Nick Price's mark of five strokes from 1994. And his seven-stroke lead after 54 holes also was the largest in championship history.


brooks koepka - dick groat.png

brooks koepka - dick groat.png

Koepka’s great uncle, Dick Groat, is a legend.

Groat won two World Series as a shortstop with the Pittsburgh Pirates, claimed the 1960 National League MVP award and earned a spot on eight National League All-Star teams. A multi-sport athlete, Groat was also claimed third overall in the 1952 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons. Grout, who is now 88 years old, and just retired as a radio analyst for the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball team after 41 seasons.


brooks koepka - baseball.jpg

brooks koepka - baseball.jpg

The love of baseball is in the family.

Brooks's father, Bob, also played baseball; he was a pitcher at West Virginia Wesleyan. And that passion was passed on to Brooks, who once told then Golf Digest senior writer Jaime Diaz of his love for baseball: “If I could do it over again, I’d play baseball—100 percent, no doubt.”


brooks koepka - high school.JPG

brooks koepka - high school.JPG

At age 10, Koepka fractured his nose and sinus cavity when his babysitter’s car was hit at an intersection.

That summer, he couldn’t play any contact sports, so he spent most days at West Palm Beach’s public Okeeheelee Golf Course.


Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day One

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day One

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 01: Brooks Koepka of the United States with his father Robert Kopeka on teh 18th hole during the first round of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie on October 1, 2015 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Photo by: David Cannon

David Cannon

Koepka made his high school golf team as a sixth grader.

And at age 13, he ended his father’s five-year club championship streak at Sherbrooke Golf and Country Club in Lake Worth, Fla., by taking him down in the finals.


The Masters - Round Three

The Masters - Round Three

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 09: Brooks Koepka of the United States and his caddie Ricky Elliott react to his par on the third green during the third round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Photo by: Harry How

Harry How

Before winning at Erin Hills, Shinnecock Hills, Bellerive and Bethpage Black, Koepka had already excelled on the big stage.

Koepka finished inside the top 25 in the seven majors prior to the 2017 U.S. Open, including four top-10 finishes since 2014. In all, including his four major titles, he now has 10 top-10s in majors, including his T-2 at the Masters in April.


US-GOLF-RYDER

US-GOLF-RYDER

Team USA Brandt Snedeker (L) and Brooks Koepka (R) react in the Saturday Morning Foursomes during the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota, October 1, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by: TIMOTHY A. CLARY

TIMOTHY A. CLARY

Koepka was a huge component to the 2016 winning USA Ryder Cup team.

Koepka went 3-1-0 in his Ryder Cup debut in the U.S. victory over Europe at Hazeltine National at the 2016 matches.


Turkish Airlines Open 2014 - Day4

Turkish Airlines Open 2014 - Day4

ANTALYA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 16: Brooks Koepka (R) of the United States receives the trophy from Chairman of the Board of Turkish Airlines Hamdi Topcu (L) following securing victory in the final round of the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open 2014 at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya, Turkey on November 16, 2014. (Photo by Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Photo by: Anadolu Agency

Anadolu Agency

Before earning his PGA Tour card, Koepka played a ton of golf in Europe.

He won three times on the Challenge Tour before winning in Turkey on the European Tour. He says of his time abroad: “I think it helped me grow up a little bit and really figure out that, ‘Hey, play golf, get it done, and then you can really take this somewhere.’ I built a lot of confidence off that.”


Zurich Classic Of New Orleans - Round Two

Zurich Classic Of New Orleans - Round Two

AVONDALE, LA - APRIL 28: Chase Koepka and Brooks Koepka walk up the fairway during the second round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2017 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Photo by: Chris Graythen

Chris Graythen

Koepka’s younger brother, Chase, is also a professional golfer.

Chase had been taking a similar road to pro golf, playing the Challenge Tour primarily. The brothers teamed up at the 2017 Zurich Classic to tie for fifth, and played again this year, finishing tied for 22nd.


Brooks Koepka - Florida State 2.jpeg

Brooks Koepka - Florida State 2.jpeg

Koepka says seeing his mother, Denise Jakows, beat breast cancer while he was in college gave him added perspective on life.

“It made me figure out that life can go pretty quickly, so enjoy it,” he says. “Make people laugh, make the best of things. Maybe not take things as seriously.”


brooks koepka - fsu.jpeg

brooks koepka - fsu.jpeg

Koepka's college record hinted that big things might be in store as a pro.

The Florida State All-American earned ACC Golfer of the Year honors two times, holds the school record for career stroke average (71.85) and single-season stroke average (71.09).


brooks koepka - claude harmon .png

brooks koepka - claude harmon .png

Koepka has worked with Claude Harmon III on his swing since 2013.

He credits Harmon, son of legendary instructor Butch Harmon, for making his driver swing more repeatable—instead of favoring a draw and missing both ways, Koepka now hits a power fade. And for the past two seasons, Koepka has improved his short game under European coach Pete Cowen, who has also worked with Henrik Stenson, Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia.


U.S. Open - Final Round

U.S. Open - Final Round

HARTFORD, WI - JUNE 18: Brooks Koepka of the United States and caddie Richard Elliott react after finishing on the 18th green during the final round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills on June 18, 2017 in Hartford, Wisconsin. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Photo by: Andrew Redington

Andrew Redington

On the bag for Koepka is Ricky Elliott, a former mini-tour player and teaching pro from Northern Ireland.

Elliott caddied for Ben Curtis for three seasons before starting to work with Koepka at the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill.


Koepka is among the growing populace of PGA Tour pros who live in Jupiter, Fla.

He practices quite a bit at The Floridian with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. Koepka credits a pep talk from DJ before the final round at Erin Hills as helping him break through.


U.S. Open - Final Round

U.S. Open - Final Round

during the final round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills on June 18, 2017 in Hartford, Wisconsin.

Photo by: Richard Heathcote

Richard Heathcote

Koepka is dating Jena Sims, a former Miss Georgia Teen USA winner who has also been in several movies.

Sims made headlines when FOX’s Joe Buck misidentified her as a former girlfriend of Koepka’s.


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