Brooks Koepka drew a lot of attention Sunday at the PGA Championship, and not only because he entered the final round just two strokes off the lead in his bid for a third straight Wanamaker Trophy.
The four-time major winner drew fire for a comment he made in a post-round interview Saturday night that was widely interpreted as dismissive of his one-time friend and one-time major winner Dustin Johnson, who was leading the tournament, and of other players near the top of the leaderboard.
“A lot of the guys on the leaderboard, I don’t think have won, I guess DJ has only won one. I don’t know a lot of the other guys up there,” Koepka said.
Through 54 holes, Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Champ trailed Johnson by one shot, while Koepka was one stroke further back alongside Paul Casey and eventual winner Collin Morikawa. Rory McIlroy was among those who considered the comment disrespectful.
“It’s a very different mentality to bring to golf that I don’t think a lot of golfers have,” McIlroy said after Sunday’s final round. “I was watching the golf last night and heard the interview and was just sort of taken aback a little bit by sort of what he said and whether he was trying to play mind games or not.”
“I mean, sort of hard to knock a guy who’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has,” he added pointedly.
Lynch: Brooks Koepka’s verbal jousting didn’t ignite his own game, but it’s good for golf