Brooks Koepka is the best player in the world by just about any metric (including the official rankings), and he’s accomplished that despite not seeming to care that much about playing golf.
A few weeks ago, Koepka noted that he doesn’t even really practice ahead of non-major tournaments:
“I just practice before the majors. Regular tournaments I don’t practice. If you’ve seen me on TV [at a regular PGA Tour event], that’s when I play golf,” he said on Tuesday at Royal Portrush.
Koepka explained that, following the Travelers Championship in June, he went 10 days without touching a golf club before the 3M Open. This week’s Open Championship, however, is different.
In a golf world where most top players spend hours and hours grinding away in an effort to perfect their swing, Koepka’s approach is refreshing. The other things he cares about (playing very quickly at the top of the list) and his willingness to say whatever is on his mind have, in combination with his on-course performances, turned Koepka into an entertaining character, especially for golf fans desperate for something different.
Today in Memphis at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (what a name), Koepka added another example to the list of what makes him different. Set to play in the final group with Rory McIlroy, Koepka didn’t even show up until the last minute. Trailing McIlroy by a stroke heading into today, Koepka was set to tee off at 2 PM, but didn’t get to the course until about 1:15 PM. It was a tremendous contrast, with McIlroy working on the range as Koepka’s parking space remained empty.
Commentator and fellow pro Colt Knost texted Koepka on-air asking where he was, and the reply was perfect Brooks:
Why @ColtKnost is going to be great for golf television… Koepka, playing in final pairing at 1pm, has yet to arrive at course. Colt texts him while on air and Koepka promptly replies telling him he’s on his way and he’s already loose 😂 👏
— Amanda Balionis (@Amanda_Balionis) July 28, 2019
Koepka did eventually arrive, of course, getting the full parking lot stakeout treatment:
It was apparently the right call, too, because Brooks took control of the tournament early in the round, then just sat on the lead, refusing to make a mistake. It was good enough for a 65 and a three shot win; McIlroy shot a +1 71 to finish T4, which was also on brand for him but not in a fun way.
Koepka’s win guaranteed him an extra $500,000 bonus in the season-long Wyndham Rewards race ($2 million total), which had things gone differently this week he would have had to play for next week at the Wyndham. Koepka didn’t even bother entering next week’s tournament, though, which for him comes across much less as arrogance or confidence in his own ability to win the WGC but more as an unwillingness to get out of bed to play golf for an extra $500,000.