The new Brooks Koepka is far removed from the monosyllabic winning machine of a couple of years ago, but is he now taking it too far?
Many of us are a hard bunch to please. Say nothing and we’re very quick to label you a media-trained robot. Say what you think or back yourself in any way and you’re brash and cocky. When Brooks Koepka made his major breakthrough at Erin Hills he was firmly part of the robot camp. Fast forward three more majors and he’s now made the leap into the latter.
Somewhere in the middle he’s been a bit sulky, most of the time quite rightly given the lack of credit going his way, and in more recent times he’s spoken a lot of sense and he’s been good value with his views on slow play and Sergio’s childish behaviour the particular standouts.
“You’re actually getting the real me now,” he told us in February. “Before I was just trying to be politically correct, not stir any bubbles. I feel like I actually do have a voice, and it will be heard.”
- The year Koepka found his voice
- What’s in Koepka’s bag?
- When a horse was shown more respect than Brooksy
This week in the monthly merry-go-round of where we stand on Koepka most of probably lurched away from him when he had a little pop at the player closest to him on the world rankings, Rory McIlroy.
The headline quotes were: “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. I’m No. 1 in the world, I’ve got open road in front of me, and I’m not looking in the rear-view mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry.”
McIlroy was asked about in the Skins game in Japan and played the whole thing down. He knows how these things work and he’s still cool with ‘Brooksy’.
“What Brooks said wasn’t wrong. I don’t think he had to remind me that I haven’t won one in a while,” McIlroy joked. “I love Brooks, he’s a great guy. Obviously super-competitive, like we all are. I can see where he’s coming from.”
A few days later Koepka limped out of the CJ Cup after slipping on some wet concrete which, if you stretch things in your mind a little, is karma working overtime into some extra holes.
Most of us weak-minded or normal souls are terrified of someone complementing us on three consecutive decent drives that we can barely utter a response in fear of it all falling apart, so to distance himself so far from the second best player in the world shows either a remarkable level of self-confidence or just a bit of a brain fart.
All of which is great and punchy and interesting if this is who you are and what makes you tick but it also leaves you open to all sorts, particularly with a chasing pack that also includes DJ, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.
For Koepka the only way is further up, for plenty of others it’s the opposite. Four years ago Jordan Spieth, three years Koepka’s junior, was the No. 1 ranked player having nearly won the Grand Slam. He was then overtaken by Jason Day, which took some doing given how much the American had just won, and held the post for nearly a year.
These days Day is 27th and Spieth 38th. Things change and change very quickly and, after the past few days, the target on Koepka’s back has just widened a bit more.
Are you all in on the new Brooks Koepka? Let us know in the comments below, or you can tweet us.