Augusta, Ga. -- The year was either 1998 or 1999, Brooks Koepka can't quite remember. But he was a little kid, either eight or nine years old, in love with fact that he was at the Masters with his dad. In his press conference on a rainy Tuesday before the 2019 Masters, Brooks talked about how he loved how close he was able to get to the players, how he dreamed of one day playing Augusta National.
The only blemish on the perfect day? He asked Phil Mickelson for an autograph, and the unthinkable happened: Mickelson said no.
"I was standing by the old range, and somehow found my way kind of right by the parking lot or something like that and asked him for an autograph and he said no, and he turned me down, probably about the only kid Phil's ever turned down," Koepka explained, laughing.
Though young Koepka held a grudge against Mickelson for years (understandably!), the two have finally moved beyond it. At a British Open practice round in 2014, Koepka said he approached Mickelson about the situation.
"No, he doesn't remember. I mean, I can't believe he doesn't remember the first time he ever said no to a kid, signing an autograph," Koepka joked. "I told him, I think in 2014, I think we were playing a practice round at the British Open. I had to tell him. I was like, 'Listen, man, you stiffed me, and I really didn't like you for a long time.' "
As for Mickelson's response to such an accusation?
"He was typical Phil, right back at me; I shouldn't have been there," said Koepka. "We can laugh about it now. I've got his autograph now."