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April 21, 2020

Brooks Koepka doesn't shy away from recalling some of his more embarrassing golf moments

US-GOLF-RYDER

TIMOTHY A. CLARY

For all of Brooks Koepka’s success—four career majors on his way to becoming the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors simultaneously, reaching No. 1 in the world, seven career victories on the PGA Tour, to name a few—he has endured his share of embarrassing moments. They’ve been rare but have spanned the gamut, from shanks to the time he ripped his pants.

On Tuesday, he discussed some of them, among other topics, in an Instagram Live conversation with his longtime caddie Ricky Elliott.

Like the time he cold shanked one during his first Ryder Cup appearance in 2016. After playing partner Brandt Snedeker drove into the left rough on the 12th hole at Hazeltine National during their alternate shot match on Saturday, Koepka swung and hit the ball off the hosel of his 6-iron, sending it sideways and just short of a pond.

“I’m not gonna walk over there,” Koepka recalled to Elliott. “I’m gonna let Sneds find it.”

In the meantime, Koepka noticed assistant captain Bubba Watson giggling as he listened to his earpiece. When Koepka inquired what was so funny he let him in on the joke: Tiger Woods, also an assistant that year, had said, “Don’t worry, only 15 million people saw you just shank it.” Then he’d told the group they just saw Koepka shank it again…in slow motion.

The good news for Koepka? He and Snedeker saved par and went on to win the match, 3 and 2, over Henrik Stenson and Matthew Fitzpatrick, and a day later the American re-claimed the Ryder Cup.

That wasn’t the last shank of Koepka’s career, though.

The following spring, while playing in the second round of the Honda Classic, Koepka pushed his tee shot well to the right on the 10th hole at PGA National. The ball settled up against a palm tree.

Koepka told Elliott he thought he could still get to the green and asked for the yardage: 175.

“I take this swing and nick the palm tree coming down," Koepka said. “The ball moved six inches straight sideways.”

A frustrated Koepka slammed his club and let out a few expletives before gathering himself and asking how far he had to the flag. “You’ve still got 175,” Elliott explained.

The next hole, Koepka broke his driver. He went on to miss the cut.

Which brings us to maybe the most embarrassing story of them all. It came in Koepka’s second year on tour, during the third round of the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson.

Koepka, who had won a few months earlier in Phoenix, rolled into the TPC at Los Colinas that afternoon dressed to kill, rocking white pants that had a trim, jean-style cut to them. The only problem? They were so tight that he couldn’t even get tees in his pocket as he warmed up on the driving range.

You can guess how things went from there.

“The first hole I go to pick the ball out of the cup and just hear this rip,” Koepka recalled. “Uh oh, what was that? I’m trying to figure out what it was but be casual about it so nobody knew.

“The problem was, I remember going in the second hole and it ripped again. Every time I went to grab the ball of out the hole it would tear more. It was brutal.”

At one point, Koepka said he told his caddie to go find his agent, because his agent always wears pants so he’d borrow his.

By the time Koepka got to 18, he said there a “big flap” hanging down from his pants. No matter. He still shot 64 that day, and the rest of his career has worked out just fine.


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