PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Brooks Koepka is in the midst of a historic run in major championships, having won four in his last nine major starts. It’s only natural, then, for him to recalibrate the expectations he places on himself when he plays in golf’s premier events. But have they become a bit too unrealistic?
The 29-year-old star met with the media on Tuesday at Royal Portrush before the start of the 148th Open Championship and was asked about his impressive run in majors, specifically in 2019.
Q: If someone told you at the start of the year that your major record would be 2-1-2, would that be more than you expected or less?
The question was hooked with a bit of bait on it. Koepka has a habit of making news in his pre-major pressers. At the PGA Championship in May, he talked about how he could win double-digit majors and how he expects much of the rest of the field at majors not to be a factor. Then at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Koepka came out firing at Fox Sports and Brandel Chamblee (over a lack of respect) and even fellow players (for complaining about course conditions).
Koepka’s response Tuesday was intriguing in a different way.
“Yeah, it’s incredible. But at the same time, it’s been quite disappointing, you know? Finishing second sucks, it really does. But you’ve got to get over it.”
An initial reaction? Cut yourself some slack, man. You can’t win them all.
But then you have to admire Koepka a little for NOT cutting himself some slack. When you’re on a heater, nothing but winning seems to matter. And Koepka is on one of the great heaters we’ve seen in a while.
Koepka tempered his remarks a bit, noting that at the Masters he got “unlucky” when his tee shot found the water on the 12th hole.
“And then at the U.S. Open, I just got flat-out beat,” Koepka said. “Sometimes that’s going to happen. You’ve just to get over it and move on.”
But has he moved on? Or do the runner-up finishes serve as more motivation? Guess we’ll see this week.
Meanwhile, in case you were wondering, Koepka was asked the obligatory “Are you still playing with a chip on your shoulder” question. And he gave a pretty classic Brooks answer, trying to downplay the premise while leaning into it ever so slightly.
“I think you always have to have a chip on your shoulder, no matter what it is,” Koepka said. “Every great athlete and every major sport always has one. You can vocalize it; you don’t have to vocalize it.
“Like I said, over the last year and a half, I just felt like if other guys had done what I had done it would be a bigger deal. Now it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got my own chip on my shoulder for what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve got my own goals I want to set, and that’s where I find, I guess, my chip. How many majors I want to win, how many wins, my own accomplishments.”
It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again: Somebody get this man a chip endorsement, ASAP.