What, me worry? Confident Brooks Koepka fires 66 Friday at 2023 PGA
PITTSFORD, N.Y. – It was not the start Brooks Koepka envisioned, 2 over on Day 1 at the PGA Championship after beginning the week with so many expectations. It was also not the reaction you would have expected after such a pedestrian start.
“I doubt it’s going to happen tomorrow,” Koepka shrugged Thursday when asked about his opening 72.
Clearly, he knew something others did not as evidenced by his 4-under 66 that led the field on Day 2 and moved him to within two shots of the lead at Oak Hill.
“He knows he’s swinging it good. We didn’t really hit a ton of balls yesterday,” said his swing coach, Claude Harmon III, who estimated they were on the range for less than 30 minutes. “I love the fact he came and said, ‘I saw it. My hands got really far back.’ As a coach that’s the greatest possible thing you can have, a player comes in during a major championship and says, ‘I know exactly what I was doing wrong.’”
It had been a trying few years for Koepka as he struggled with various injuries and eventually turned to LIV Golf, but he started to see progress toward the end of last year and he won the LIV event in April in Orlando, Florida. But it was his performance at the Masters that convinced him he was back.
Full-field scores from the PGA Championship
Although Harmon said Koepka was “devastated” by his runner-up finish to Jon Rahm at Augusta National, following a final-round 75, it proved he was still the same player who won four of eight majors from 2017-19.
“It showed him how much he still wanted it,” Harmon said. “The argument was these guys [players who joined LIV] got the bag and they didn’t care about winning anymore. I actually think the fact that he was as hurt and devastated by it was so much a positive for me. It showed me he cared, that winning the Masters means something.”