Brooks Koepka always shows up for majors. It’s those pesky weeks in between where he starts to let his mind wander.
Koepka shot a 3-over 145 (72-73) over the first two rounds of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in Ridgeland, S.C., placing him two shots below the cut line while second-round action finished up Friday.
After his round, Koepka said his goal for the week was to get “tournament reps” and acknowledged his mind was more on next week’s U.S. Open, the third major of the season.
“I like where my game’s at,” Koepka began. “I’m striking it well, putting it well. So I don’t see anything wrong.
“It’s just, like I said, maybe a little lack of focus and maybe — these weeks before the majors, I start thinking about next week instead of where I’m at. It’s not an excuse, but it just needs to be better. I need to be where I’m at currently, even more present in this tournament than thinking about next week.”
Koepka, 31, has made his living at the sport’s biggest events thus far in his career. Of his eight career PGA Tour victories, half came at majors: the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open and the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championship. He’s also finished tied for second at the Masters and tied for fourth at the Open Championship.
Koepka placed second to Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship in May, just two months after undergoing knee surgery.
Koepka’s most recent win came this year at the Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale in February. But he’s also missed five cuts since December — six when the Palmetto Championship leaderboard becomes official — although some of those occurred while he was still fighting knee pain before opting for surgery.
“I mean, I don’t try to miss a cut,” Koepka said. “I don’t know, I just have a harder time focusing in regular PGA Tour events than I do majors. Majors, I know I’m locked in from the moment I hit the first tee shot. Even walking from the first tee shot to the ball, my head is still going on what I need to do. Out here I kind of lose focus for a little bit.”
Koepka would surpass Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Raymond Floyd and tie the likes of Byron Nelson and Seve Ballesteros if he wins next week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines for his fifth major title.
“My game’s in good shape. I know my score doesn’t reflect it,” he said. “I like where it’s at. I feel even better than where I was going into the PGA. I’m pretty pleased, pretty happy. Just get ready for next week.”
–Field Level Media