Brooks Koepka, for the most part, has always been an open book. He’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind, and could care less what everybody thinks about him. That’s what makes him one of the most polarizing athletes on Tour. Some hate him, some love him. What you can’t deny is his greatness. In a two-year span, Koepka won two U.S. Opens, and two PGA Championships.
He’s been in the mix at several other majors, including the 2019 Masters which was eventually won by Tiger Woods.
What he’s been known for recently, however, is his beef with Bryson DeChambeau. It all started after an ab comment DeChambeau made while playing video games online. Brooks came back with a Twitter post showing off his two U.S. Open trophies.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) January 16, 2020
The relationship between DeChambeau and Koepka has escalated enormously in 2021, highlighted by the new rule instituted by Tour saying that if fans call DeChambeau ‘Brooksie’ during a round, they will be removed from the tournament.
In a recent interview with Golf Digest, Brooks Koepka opened up about the Olympics, Ryder Cup, winning majors, but also trash talk.
“Golf isn’t really a sport where you trash talk, but I can trash talk with the best of them. I don’t want to say gamesmanship is trash talk, but it borders the line,” Koepka told Matthew Rudy. “I take so much satisfaction that there’s something wrong in my head about it. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, it’s so intense. I might not always show it, but I’m so intense inside at wanting to beat the living crap out of you at whatever we’re doing.
“I just want to embarrass you. If golf wasn’t the ‘gentleman’s’ sport it is, I would trash talk my entire way through it. I’d love to be in the NFL and just stand over you like Tyrann Mathieu does after a tackle.”
At heart, Koepka is an athlete. He burns with competitive fire, and he’s not the only player on Tour who thinks this way. Imagine how Tiger Woods would have mentally dominated in the early 2000s if golf was conducted like the NFL.
At the Tour Championship a few weeks ago, Koepka had to withdraw due to a wrist injury after swinging and hitting a tree root. Despite the injury, it seems as though Koepka will still represent the U.S. side at the Ryder Cup next week.
He had some interesting things to say about the bi-annual dual.
“It’s tough. There are times where I’m like, I won my match. I did my job. What do you want from me? I know how to take responsibility for the shots I hit every week.” Koepka said. “Now, somebody else hit a bad shot and left me in a bad spot, and I know this hole is a loss.
“It’s a bit odd, if I’m honest. I don’t want to say it’s a bad week. We’re just so individualized, and everybody has their routine and a different way of doing things, and now, it’s like, OK, we have to have a meeting at this time or go do this or go do that … the physical part, I can handle. The mental side, you have to be able to turn it off.
Sometimes, the power comes from being able to turn it on. But for me, I get power from turning it off. That’s been a huge, huge thing for me that I really haven’t understood until the past five or six years of my career.”
It’s interesting to hear Koepka’s thoughts about the Ryder Cup, and again, it’s probable that he’s not the only one who believes this. Golf is all about routine, conducting each day the same way to establish a base. But when that routine is disturbed, like it is during Ryder Cup week, it’s tough to battle through. Every man on that team has a different way to get ready for a week of golf, and some may not be able to adjust to the hectic schedule.
The United States team will need Koepka to be locked in next week at Whistling Straits if they want to beat Europe for just the third time since the start of the millennium.
Koepka was also asked about Tiger. Did Tiger Woods set the bar out of reach?
“In my mind, I’m going to catch him on majors. I believe that. I don’t see any reason that can stop me. I’m 31. I have another 14 years left,” Koepka said. “If I win one a year, I got Jack. People misconstrue that as being cocky. No, that’s just my belief. If I don’t have that belief, I shouldn’t be out there. If you don’t think you can win, why the hell are you teeing it up?
“Yeah, I’m just going for second place this week. There’s a lot of that on Tour. Even elite players are very happy with that. Second? Sports are made to have a winner and a loser. You’re one or the other.”
Article originally appeared on: Golfweek.usatoday.com