Golf Talk Live - Nick Faldo Transcript Segment 1
DURING THE DECADE OF HIS 30'S NICK FALDO WAS THE PREMIER CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMER IN THE GAME. NOW HE'S IN HIS EARLY 40'S, DOES HE CRAVE BEING NUMBER 1 AGAIN AND IF SO WHAT ARE HIS PLANS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. FIND OUT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.
FOR THE FIRST 450 YEARS OF THE GAMES HISTORY GOLF WAS PLAYED EXCLUSIVELY IN SCOTLAND. THE FIRST GREAT PLAYER NOT TO HALE FROM SCOTLAND WAS ENGLAND'S JOHN HENRY TAYLOR, KNOWN TO ALMOST ALL AS JH TAYLOR. HE WAS
A LITTLE LIKE FELLOW ENGLISHMEN NICK FALDO IS HIS STYLE OF PLAY. JH WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARILY STRAIGHT AND ACCURATE HITTER OF TEE SHOTS. HE WASN'T PARTICULARLY LONG AS HIS SWING WAS BUILT LESS FOR POWER AND MORE FOR ACCURATE PLACEMENT. HE WAS GRITTY IN HIS DETERMINATION AND
WAS CONTENT TO STRAIN TOGETHER A ROUND WITH LOTS OF 4'S IN IT KNOWING THAT A ROUND FILLED WITH WHAT WE TODAY THINK OF AS SOLID PARS WAS THE STUFF THAT ADDED UP TO CHAMPIONSHIPS. JH WON 5 BRITISH OPENS WAS THE CONTEMPORARY OF HARRY
VARDENS AND PLAYED IN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS UNTIL HE WAS OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE A HOUSE FILLED WITH GRANDCHILDREN. ENGLISHMEN HARRY VARDEN CAME ALONG AND TOOK THE
GAME TO ANOTHER LEVEL. HE HAD TAYLORS ACCURACY FROM THE TEE BUT ADDED TO IT GREATER POWER AND AN ABILITY TO HIT HIGH SOFT APPROACHES WITH LONG IRONS AND FAIRWAY WOODS. WHEN VARDEN WAS 43 YEARS OLD HE WON HIS LAST OF 6 BRITISH OPENS. TO
ECLIPSE HIS FRIEND MR. TAYLOR. VARDEN ALSO WON THE US OPEN IN 1900. AND HIS 7 MAJOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS TIES HIM FOR THE MOST EVER WITH BOBBY JONES, AND JACK NICKLAUS. VARDEN'S RUN WAS HALTED BY THE ON SET OF WORLD WAR I
AND AT THE AGE OF 50 IN 1920 NEARLY AND SHOULD HAVE WON THE US OPEN AT INVERNESS. THE SAME CHAMPIONSHIP WHERE 18 YEAR OLD BOBBY JONES WAS PLAYING IN HIS FIRST OPEN. VARDEN AND
JONES WERE PAIRED TOGETHER. VARDEN PRONOUNCED JONES, THE FINEST JUDGE OF DISTANCE HE'D EVER SEEN. THE GREATEST PLAYER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY WAS HARRY VARDEN. THE GREATEST PLAYER OF CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE END OF THE
CENTURY IS NICK FALDO WHO HAS 6 MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, 3 BRITISH OPENS, AND 3 MASTERS TOURNAMENTS. THE FIRST OF THESE 6, THE BRITISH OPEN AT MUIRFIELD IN 1987. WITH THE GRITTYNESS OF TAYLOR AND THE MAJESTY OF VARDEN. FALDO ADDED THE MASTERS IN
1989 AND THE BRITISH OPEN AT ST. ANDREWS AND THE MASTERS IN 1990. THE BRITISH AGAIN AT MUIRFIELD IN 1992 AND THE 3RD MASTER IN 1996. THE CHAMPION-
SHIP RUN HAS COOLED BUT FALDO LOOKS LIKE ANYTHING BUT CONTENT TO REST. HE WORKS ON REDISCOVERING HIS EFFICIENCY AND CONSISTENCY. HE SEARCHES FOR HIS CHAMPIONSHIP PUTTING STROKE. HE HAS A CHANCE TO
CATCH FELLOW COUNTRYMEN VARDEN 7 MAJORS, AND TO BE REGARDED AS NOT ONLY THE BEST PLAYER OF HIS GENERATION BUT THE BEST OF HIS TIME. IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY THAT FALDO RELISHES PARTICULARLY IN HIS EARLY 40'S WHEN THERE'S STILL A NICK OF TIME
WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE I'M PETER KESSLER GREAT PLEASURE TO WELCOME BACK TO OUR SHOW NICK FALDO, GREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
NOW LAST TIME YOU WERE HERE I WAS PARTICULARLY RUDE BECAUSE YOU WERE TELLING US A GREAT STORY AND I CUT YOU OFF SO, WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE YOU WERE IN THE STORY, COME BACK LIVE AND FINISH IT FOR US.
ALL RIGHT, OKAY.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK.
HAVE AN AUDIENCE WITH SOME, YOU KNOW A VERY MYSTIC FIGURE IN GOLF WAS JUST SOMETHING SPECIAL AND I GUESS, I DID GET A SENSE WHAT YOU KNOW PEOPLE SAY, WHEN THEY MEET ME OR OTHER FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU KNOW
WHAT IT'S LIKE I MEAN I WAS UP AT 4 IN THE MORNING, I GOT 3 PAGES OF NOTE PADS, I GOT, I WRITTEN ALL THESE QUESTIONS AND I THOUGHT YOU KNOW, AND SAT DOWN IN FRONT OF HIM AND
YOU KNOW STARTED READING OFF A FEW OF THEM AND HE WAS VERY, HE WAS A LOT WARMER AND A LOT SOFTER THAN HE WAS 20 YEARS AGO THEY SAYING, OBVIOUSLY HE NEVER ?GRANTED? AN AUDIENCE 20 YEARS AGO. AND SO IT WAS
FASCINATING AND I MANAGED TO GET ON WITH HIM, AND I SAT NEXT TO HIM AT LUNCH WENT TO SHADY OAKS AND SAT IN HIS FAMOUS ROUND TABLE, SAT NEXT TO HIM, WE HAD LUNCH AND I WENT OUT AND HIT SOME BALLS YOU KNOW AT ALL HIS
FAMOUS SPOTS, WHERE HE USE TO DO HIS PITCHING FROM AND ALL THAT SORT OF THING. IT WAS ALL PUT TOGETHER BY A CHAP CALLED.
I'M GOING TO HAVE TO STOP YOU BECAUSE THEY'LL TELLING US OUR TIME IS UP.
WHICH MEANS YOU'LL HAVE TO COME BACK AND SEE US, THANKS FOR BEING HERE TONIGHT.
YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT BEN HOGAN, WELL IT KEEPS IT A SECRET THEN IT DOES ANYWAY DOESN'T IT.
HE KEPT THE SECRET AND NOW YOUR GOING TO HAVE TO KEEP THE SECRET.
YEAH, I CAN'T TELL YOU THE SECRET. I WAS GOING TO TELL YOU LIVE ON THE GOLF CHANNEL.
WE'LL SEE YOU MONDAY NIGHT ON GOLF TALK LIVE. OKAY SO 2 YEARS IS PASSED SO PICK UP THE STORY.
WELL I'M SORRY I HAVE TO LEAVE , IT WAS VERY NICE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE WE'LL SEE YOU VERY SOON ON GOLF TALK LIVE.
CABS WAITING OUTSIDE I'VE GOT TO GO.
YES, GIVE IT TO ME.
SO WHAT, IT'S NOT THAT EASY. GOD AND IF I COULD OR SHOULD OR.
I GAVE YOU THE FIRST BIT TO PROMPT THAT MEMORY OF YOURS.
WELL NO, HE REALLY TALKED VERY MUCH ABOUT THE DRIVER BEING THE KEY CLUB, WHICH WAS ONE OF HIS SECRETS, IT'S IMPORTANT. AND WE TALKED ABOUT THE GOLF SWING AND BUT HE WASN'T GOING TO LET ON HIS SECRETS THE WAY I
WANTED HIM TO. AND I TALKED ABOUT HOW HE TRIED TO FADE THE BALL AND DRAW THE BALL AND THAT SORT OF
THING BUT HE KEPT, HE KEPT TALKING ABOUT THE DRIVER, THE DRIVER BEING THE KEY CLUB. THAT REALLY WAS HIS MOST IMPORTANT THING, IF YOU COULDN'T HIT A DRIVER OF A FADE YOU DIDN'T EXIST IN THE WORLD OF GOLF.
SO, BUT HIS SECRET WILL REMAIN SAFE WITH ME, I PROMISE.
YEAH, WELL HOW ABOUT LETTING IT REMAIN UNSAFE.
NO I CAN'T DO THAT.
I WAITED 2 YEARS FOR YOU TO SAY.
NO I CAN'T DO THAT.
THE DRIVER'S AN IMPORTANT GOLF CLUB.
YEAH THAT WAS IT.
DID HE WATCH YOU HIT GOLF BALLS?
NO HE DIDN'T UNFORTUNATELY, HE GAVE ME A VERY NICE COMPLIMENT. I DID ASK HIM I SAID, WOULD YOU COME OUT AND WATCH ME HIT BALLS. HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAYS, I THINK YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING, WHICH WAS I THOUGHT
THAT WAS GREAT. NO THE SECRET HAS TO REMAIN SAFE, IT REALLY DOES.
DID YOU WATCH HIM HIT BALLS?
NO UNFORTUNATELY NO, HOW OLD WAS HE THEN LATE 70'S I THINK HE PROBABLY STOPPED A COUPLE YEARS BEFORE THAT, YEAH.
YOU KNOW IT'S TOMORROW'S THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS CAR ACCIDENT FEBRUARY 2ND 1949 AND OF COURSE HE WON 6 OF HIS 9 MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AFTER THAT ACCIDENT OVER THE NEXT 4 YEARS. AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
PLAYED WITH HIM AT THE TIME SAID, HE WAS A BETTER GOLFER AFTER THE ACCIDENT.
OH YEAH, YEAH.
BECAUSE HIS LEG ACTION WAS QUIETER. AS WE TAKE A LOOK, AND NOW YOU WILL LOOK AT HIS SWING AND YOU CAN TALK OVER IT FOR US AND I'M GOING TO KEEP PRODDING YOU TILL WE GET THERE. WHEN WE TAKE A LOOK AT HIS SWING
TAKEN AT THE PRACTICE RANGE AT THE MASTERS TOURNAMENT IN 67, TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE.
TELL ME WHAT WE SHOULD NOTICE AS WE LOOK AT HIS GOLF SWING, LETS TAKE A LOOK.
WELL FIRST THING, HE HAD WAS AN AMAZING GRIP HE HAD A VICE GRIP VERY, VERY STRONG HANDS. AND YOU WATCH HOW HE ROTATES HIS ARMS ON THE BACKSWING, SO HE GETS FULL, WHAT HE DOES HE'S A FULL 90 DEGREE TURN OF
HIS SHOULDERS, AND HE GETS A FULL WRIST SET, AS WE WOULD CALL IT NOW BUT THE ARMS DON'T GO RIGHT AROUND AND HIS ARMS STAY PRETTY LOW, AND THAT'S WHY IT WOULD STILL LOOK AS IF IT WAS LAID OFF. BUT THEN HE HAD THIS
FABULOUS LEG ACTION YOU SEE HOW HE COILS AGAINST, GETS HIS POWER UP AND
THEN HE FIRES THE RIGHT SIDE THROUGH, AND THESE ARE GREAT YOU CAN SEE THE ROTATION HERE, LOOK HOW HE ROTATES THAT LEFT ARM SO MUCH THAT THE CLUBS POINTING LEFT AND THEN HE JUST PULLS IT DOWN HARD WITH HIS LEFT SIDE
AND THEN FIRES THE RIGHT SIDE THROUGH. SO HE WAS THE MASTER OF LINKING YOU KNOW, LEFT SIDE AND RIGHT SIDE AND THEN GETTING THE TOP HALF OF THE BODY TO WORK AGAINST THE BOTTOM HALF, YOU KNOW TO CREATE THE TORQUE AND THAT SORT OF THING. HE
HAD VICE HANDS, AND I WAS AMAZED WHEN I FIRST SPOKE TO HIM THAT HE NEVER SUFFERED ANYTHING FROM, YOU KNOW LEGENDARY HITTING AS MANY GOLF BALLS AS HE DID, NEVER HAD ANY
ACHES AND PAINS IN HIS ARMS OR ANYTHING. SO THAT WAS, YOU KNOW NEVER WORE A GLOVE I MEAN TO HANG ON TO. I HAD SOME FABULOUS STORIES. HENRY COTTON GAVE HIM EXERCISE WHEN HE CAME TO CARNOUSTIE. HE LAID DOWN 20 BALLS AND THERE WAS A GREEN
OUT THERE GAVE HIM HIS BRASSY AND HE HIT AS LEGEND WOULD HAVE IT, 19 OR 20 BALLS ON TO THE GREEN WITHOUT CHANGING HIS GRIP. HE GRIPED IT ONCE, THE FIRST ONE AND HIT THEM AND WENT LIKE THAT, THROUGH 20 BALLS, I MEAN
THERE'S NOBODY ELSE COULD EVER DO THAT. EVERYBODY ?YOU THINK? OF IN THE WORLD, I CAN'T THINK OF ANYBODY WHO COULD GRIP IT, HIT ONE SHOT AND IT COME BACK AND THERE GRIP IS GOOD
ENOUGH TO PUT IT BACK DOWN AGAIN. SO HE WAS A PURE, PURE STRIKER WASN'T HE.
THIS YEAR THE OPEN WILL RETURN TO CARNOUSTIE WHERE HE WON HIS ONLY BRITISH OPEN IN 1953. AND SOMETHING ELSE THAT HE DID, THAT SOUNDS LIKE HE MAY HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE FEW TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS AS WELL, IS THAT HE
MODIFIED HIS ACTIONS SO THAT HE WOULD PICK THE BALL FAIRLY CLEAN, OFF THE FIRM FAIRWAYS OF CARNOUSTIE. DO YOU MODIFY YOUR ACTION, EVER LIKE TRY TO HIT MORE RIGHT TO LEFT AT AUGUSTA OR DO YOU GO TO THE TOURNAMENT SITE WITH WHAT GOT YOU THERE.
WELL I THINK, I THINK YOU PREPARE YOURSELF PRIOR TO THAT. I THINK YOU GOT A LONG BUILD UP TO AUGUSTA YOU KNOW AFTER THE PGA WE'VE GOT WINTER AND SPRING TO GET YOURSELF IN IT AND I KNOW YOU DO START THINKING OF
SHAPING CERTAIN SHOTS OR TRYING IN A WAY TO MAYBE TRY AND GET A LITTLE BIT MORE BACK SPIN ON YOUR IRON SHOTS, YOU KNOW MAYBE GETTING THEM A LITTLE BIT STEEPER OR SOMETHING AND THEN OBVIOUSLY YOU NEED TO TIP A FEW
DRIVERS OVER, SHAPE A FEW DRIVERS AROUND THE CORNER THAT'S BENEFICIAL. MAYBE TRY AND HIT A FEW LONG IRONS A LITTLE HIGHER. I THINK YOU DO, AND
YOU HAVE TO WORK, YOU DEFINITELY HAVE TO WORK A LITTLE BIT MORE ON YOUR SHORT GAME WHEN YOU GET TO AUGUSTA BECAUSE YOU KNOW THE, AS YOU'VE SEEN THE WAY THEY MOW THE
GRASS OFF THE GREENS, WERE THEN
CHIPPING BACK INTO THE GREEN SO YOU'VE GOT THIS WICKED CHIP THAT GOES OVER ALWAYS GOING UP HILL THEN ON TO A DOWN SLOPE, AND YOU KNOW GOT A LAKE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF IT AND YOUR PLAY OFF INTO THE GREEN SO IF
YOU MISS HIT IT A HAIR , THAT'S THE ONE THAT COMES UP SHORT AND GRABS AND COMES BACK TO YOU OR SO OBVIOUSLY YOU KNOW I GOT TO GET IT THERE HAIR TOO HARD AND THAT'S WHY AUGUSTA IS SO, SUCH A FEEL GOLF COURSE,
ESPECIALLY UNDER PRESSURE YOU START MISSING THE GREENS ON SUNDAY AND THEN YOUR FACING WITH THESE CHIPS YOU KNOW, YOU GOT TO PLAY THEM WITH SOME EXTRA TOUCH.
THE YEAR AFTER YOU WON MOST RECENTLY AT AUGUSTA. TIGER WOODS WON AND HE SHOT 18 UNDER WHICH TIED YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD OF 18 UNDER, AT ST. ANDREWS IN 1990. HOW COME THEY SAID AFTER TIGER SHOT 18
UNDER WE NEED TO PROTECT THE GOLF COURSE. AND THEY DIDN'T SAY AFTER YOU SHOT 18 UNDER WE NEED TO FALDOIZE THIS TO PROTECT IT AGAINST NICK DOING THIS AGAIN.
GOOD QUESTION I DON'T KNOW, I DON'T KNOW I THINK THEY KNEW WE GOT ST. ANDREWS ON A VERY CALM, BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY WEEK WHICH DOESN'T, WHAT HAPPENS PROBABLY ONCE EVERY DECADE AT ST. ANDREWS SO I THINK THAT'S WHY
THEY WORRIED ABOUT AUGUSTA THE FACT THAT YOU CAN DRIVE THE BALL, YOU KNOW THE FAIRWAYS ARE PRETTY GENEROUS AND THAT'S WHAT THEY'VE BEEN WORKING ON. I THINK AS FAR AS THIS TIME WHEN WE GO BACK I THINK
THERE'S GOING TO BE A FEW LITTLE SURPRISES, THAT THE FAIRWAYS ARE SUDDENLY GETTING A LITTLE BIT MORE NARROW AND IT WON'T BE QUITE SO EASY
TO JUST BLAST IT ANYWHERE DOWN ANY SIDE OF THE FAIRWAY. THAT'S BEEN THE PROBLEM NOW WITH MODERN GOLF YOU KNOW, THE GUYS ARE HITTING IT SO FAR THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THERE ON THE WRONG SIDE PIN, BECAUSE IF IT'S
?DONE? WITH A 9 IRON YOU ONLY NEED THIS MUCH TO STOP A 9 IRON. WHERE IF YOUR BACK ON TOP OF THE HILL AND YOU GOT A 3 OR 4 IRON IN YOUR HAND WELL THEN YOU GOT TO COME FROM THE RIGHT SIDE TO LAND IT ON THE FRONT EDGE AND
WORK THE BALL IN SO, YOU KNOW THAT'S BEEN THE PROBLEM THE FACT THAT THE GUYS HITTING IT SO FAR THAT THEY ARE COMING IN WITH SHORTER CLUBS.
IS IT SAFE FOR ME TO GO TO A BREAK OR ARE YOU GOING TO KEEP GOING?
WHERE AM I GOING.
WELL LAST, YOU KNOW LAST TIME I TOOK US OFF THE AIR, SO I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE .
ALL RIGHT, I'LL PAUSE.
WE WILL BE RIGHT BACK WITH NICK FALDO RIGHT AFTER THIS, DON'T GO AWAY.
Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.
Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.
While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.
“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”
Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.
“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”
Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close
CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.
McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.
“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”
The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.
“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”
He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.
“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”
Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence
CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.
Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.
Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.
It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.
“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”
Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.
“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection
CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.
Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.
Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”
Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.
“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”
Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.
“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”