Cutting it closeJuly 28, 2019

Brooks Koepka gets to WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational just 45 minutes before his final-round tee time with Rory McIlroy

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Stacy Revere

It’s hard to knock Brooks Koepka for just about anything golf-related these days. The World No. 1 wrapped up another top-five finish in a major last weekend at the Open Championship, and he arrived at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in first place in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup points list. And through 54 holes at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Koepka continued to show his proficiency on the course, shooting rounds of 68-67-64 to find himself one stroke back of Rory McIlroy and in the last pairing with his fellow four-time major winner for the first time in the final round of a PGA Tour event.

OK, so we’ll give Koepka the benefit of the doubt, then, that he knows what he’s doing around the course. Still, when he didn’t arrive at TPC Southwind on Sunday until just 45 minutes before their 1 p.m. CDT tee time, he naturally caused a bit of a panic for those wondering why they hadn’t seen him at the course.

Typically, tour pros are at the golf course at least an hour ahead of their tee times, to allow themselves a chance for a full warm-up before heading to the first tee. Not surprisingly, social media took note of Koepka’s absence.

As the minutes continued to unfold, and still no sign of Brooks, a few crazy thoughts started to come to mind. Had he overslept? Was he stuck in traffic? Did an early morning tour of Graceland run long?

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This bit of reporting from Colt Knost, working the early TV coverage of the tournament on Golf Channel, however, started to prevent too much gossip from spreading.

Eventually, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Keopka’s ride, a black Ford Expedition, pulled up to the front of the clubhouse with 45 minutes to go. Koepka and his caddie, Ricky Elliott, got out and went straight to the putting green. Koepka soon hit the range and was ready to go on the first hole.

Better late than never, right? Indeed, Koepka made birdies on three of his first six holes to take a two-stroke lead over McIlroy early in the final round.