SAN FRANCISCO, United States, Aug 4 – When it comes to playing on the biggest stage in golf, the smart money is usually on Brooks Koepka.
Koepka has a history of playing his best in the majors and after last week’s performance in Memphis, he looks primed to make a run at the three-peat at the PGA Championship in San Francisco.
Over the past five years, the 30-year-old American has been the most dominant player in the majors, winning two US Opens and the last two PGA Championships.
“I enjoy when it gets tough. I enjoy when things get complicated,” Koepka said on Tuesday during practice at the TPC Harding Park course. “There’s always disaster lurking.
“It is something I enjoy, where every shot really means something. Every shot is so important and you can’t lose focus on one.
“That’s something I’m really proud of. That I can always just hang in there mentally and hit the shot that I need to hit at the right time, and don’t let off the gas pedal.”
Koepka had been battling a bad knee and subpar results before finishing tied for second last week at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Koepka said Tuesday he has been tinkering with his swing and paying special attention to the mental aspect of his game.
“I think that’s why I’ve played so well (in majors) is I break things down very easily,” he said. “For some reason, people make golf a lot more complicated than it should be. Worried about where shots go, results, you know, putting more emphasis on this week or the major weeks.
– ‘Mentally drained’ –
“When to me, it almost seems the most relaxing week of the year. I feel like Monday to Wednesday I am conserving energy mentally. I’ve got a good routine, nine holes pretty much every day and I leave the golf course feeling pretty refreshed.
“By Sunday, I’m mentally drained. It is more mentally exhausting with a major. I think that’s one of the strengths of my game.”
Koepka likes the layout at the TPC Harding Park event which will be contested starting Thursday without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a big boy golf course. Tough place. Tough setup,” he said.
Koepka is looking to claim his third consecutive PGA title, something not accomplished since 1926. Koepka won the 2018 PGA Championship and successfully defended his title last year at Bethpage Black.
He had been struggling to find his form in 2020 but worked his way into contention last week before delivering his best result of the year and gaining some much needed momentum heading into his bid for a three-peat.
“I had no other option other than to find it,” he said of his game. “I mean, you always want to turn it around.
“As far as confidence, I got frustrated. I think anybody would. Nobody likes playing bad. But at the same time, I knew it was only a couple swings away. I knew that once I got the feeling, I’d be off and running, and here we are.”
The biggest cause for concern has been the pain and swelling in Koepka’s bothersome left knee.
“It’s just been a lot of patience. I had a lot of sitting around and waiting and doing rehab. Just trying to make sure we’re ready for this week,” he said.