Brooks Koepka plays with supreme confidence. A confidence like few golfers before him, and a confidence driven partly by a sizeable chip on his broad shoulders.
The three time major winner who, let’s not forget, picked up two US Open titles and the PGA Championship in the space of 15 months, is at East Lake this weekend as he completes his bid to cap an outstanding season with the FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship.
After Bryson DeChambeau won the first two play-off events Koepka will need a big weekend and a little help from those at the top of the rankings to win the title, but it would be more than deserved after an outstanding season.
It may seem strange, then, that after such a season and given that he will be one of the leading figures at next week’s Ryder Cup, that Koepka was not requested by any of the media present in Atlanta.
The 28-year-old isn’t the most enthralling of public speakers, and has been described as the one of the most ‘under-the-radar’ major champions there has ever been. The lack of spotlight is something Koepka claims doesn’t bother him, but he certainly made a point of acknowledging it this week.
“[The media] has their guys they wanna talk to,” Koepka said away from a press conference. “I’m not one of them and that’s fine.”
“Come Sunday, I won’t forget it when everyone wants to talk to me because I just won. I don’t forget things.”
Koepka is consistent in his claims that the underappreciation of a golfer of his standing doesn’t get to him, however, his coach Pete Cowen knows the signs.
“When you’re with him, it doesn’t seem to bother him too much but you can tell it rankles him a little bit,” the Yorkshireman told Standard Sport. “He always feels that when he looks at the odds, he looked at the odds for the PGA Championship and he said ‘how’s he in front of me in the odds, how’s he in front of me and how’s he in front of me in the odds’.
“So, you can tell it rankles him a little bit.”
That underappreciation, though, sparks a fire in the Florida golfer, a desire to prove those who ignore his comments wrong.
It also adds to his overwhelming confidence. A confidence that Cowen, who has ten Ryder Cups and a grand slam of major titles won by his players under his belt, has not seen before.
"He [Koepka] said to me on the flight from WGC Bridgestone ‘they’re going to have to play really well to beat me this week the way I’m playing’,” Cowen added.
"That's not normal, most people are very protective of the quality of their play. They always like to say ‘well I’m not far away’, it’s always a cliché. They know they’re playing well but they’re frightened of saying they’re playing well just in case they don’t do as well as they should. You listen to them all the time when they’re being interviewed, ‘it’s not far away, it’s close’ they say.”
“[Brooks has] Confidence. Pure confidence. Absolutely.”
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