Pro Golf Weekly

7 Questions: U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka won the 118th U.S. Open with a final-round 68 to finish at 1-over par 281, one shot clear of Tommy Fleetwood (+2) who roared up the leader board on Sunday with a record-tying 63.

The win was Koepka’s third career PGA Tour victory, and second-straight U.S. Open title, joining Curtis Strange as the only living golfers to win back-to-back U.S. Open banners.

Credit: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

If he wasn’t before, the 28-year old Koepka is now a legit superstar and is one of only three players under the age of 30 with multiple major titles – the others being Rory McIlroy (29, 4) and Jordan Spieth (24, 3). While many expect Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed to make it a fivesome soon, at the moment it is an elite threesome.

After his repeat national championship at Shinnecock Hills, Koepka met with the media to take some questions. Here’s a round up of seven of the best from the Q & A session.


1. KEY TO VICTORY

Credit: Getty Images/David Cannon

What was the key for you today?

KOEPKA: I felt like I made those clutch eight- to ten-footers that you need to make to kind of keep the ball, keep the momentum going. And I felt like, you know, we didn’t drive it that great, but you can make up so much with a hot putter, and I feel like that’s kind of what I was doing.

Starting with the great bogey I made at 11, I think that was big because, from where we were, I want to say I would have taken double when we were in jail. You can’t miss it there. To make that big of a mistake, you just want to walk away with bogey.

Luckily, that putt went in, and that built some momentum coming down the stretch and made me feel a little bit better with the putter.


2. KEY SHOT

Credit: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

What was the most important shot for you today?

KOEPKA: I got to go with that — the putt on 11 was pretty big. The six-footer on 12 was pretty big, and then 14. I can’t really pick one of those because they were all kind of at different times.

I felt like I could have been very easily derailed, making double or triple. You’ve just got to keep plugging away. 11 was — I watched guys in the morning hit that putt, and I knew how slow it was. And I watched, I think, three guys leave it short. I just told myself just to give it a little extra.

And then from there, once you see one go in, sometimes it feels like the hole just opens up for you.


3. TOMMY FLEETWOOD’S 63

Credit: Getty Images/Mike Ehrman

Brooks, when were you aware of the round that Tommy Fleetwood had posted? Can you speak a little bit about how impressive that round was today?

KOEPKA: 63 in a U.S. Open is always pretty impressive. It was hard not to miss. It was the lowest red number up there. 7 under is incredible. Hats off to him. That’s some golf.

He seems to bring it every time it’s a U.S. Open. Last year, playing with him in the final round, it was pretty impressive. He played very well. He’s a great player. I mean, I’ve known him for maybe five years now, going on that roughly. But he’s an incredible player. He’ll definitely be holding some Major championships here soon.


4. PLAYING WITH DJ

Credit: Getty Images/Rob Carr

What was it like for you to play with Dustin Johnson and try to beat a very, very good friend that you’ve known for a long time and is very close to you?

KOEPKA: Yeah. I mean, I love Dustin. He’s one of my best friends. To play alongside him, it was fun today. I was excited about it. I figured he would be the guy to beat. I’m sure everyone in here probably had him favorite; and rightfully so, he should have been, being No. 1 in the world.

But I didn’t talk to him today. Maybe I said something on 3, and that was about it. We really didn’t speak that much. We’re both competitive. We both know we’re trying to beat each other and trying to win a golf tournament, trying to win a Major. There’s a little bit of stress.

But, I mean, I’m sure there’s nobody happier for me than Dustin. I’m sure he’s happy. When I get back home, he’ll the first one I call to go hang out. I look forward to doing that.


5. SELECT COMPANY

Credit: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

The list of Major champions is pretty long, but the list of multiple Major champions is sort of 80 odd. Can you speak to how this affects your legacy going forward?

KOEPKA: I haven’t really thought about my legacy. That’s pretty cool. I remember Rich Beem at The Open Championship was talking about how there’s only 280-some guys that have ever won a Major. And once you keep doing it, once you win the second one, he told me it goes down a lot lower.

What did you say, 80? Yeah, I think that’s pretty incredible to be a two-time Major champion. I think that’s neat, man. It really is.


6. OTHER MAJORS

Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little R&A

Brooks, you’re obviously very adept at winning U.S. Opens. Do you feel your game is suited to any other of the particular Majors, or does it suit all time zones, as it were?

KOEPKA: I think all time zones. I mean, a U.S. Open is always going to be a tough test of golf. I enjoy that. That’s fun. The Open Championship, I think, suits very well, and we always seem to play good at the PGA. The only one I haven’t figured out is Augusta. Hopefully, figure that one out soon because I’ll be playing there for a while [another 5-year exemption].


7. THREE-PEAT AT PEBBLE

Credit: Getty Images/Robert Laberge

What’s your experience at Pebble Beach, feelings about the place, and as a venue for a potential three-peat?

KOEPKA: I’ve played it once. I think two years ago maybe, I think I played it. That’s the only time I’ve ever played it. It’s an incredible golf course. You can get caught up in the views there, just looking around. I know it’s a year away, but I’ll be excited when we go play there.

To be honest with you, I don’t putt that well on poa, so it will be quite interesting. I struggle reading the poa greens. The consistency, they bounce a little bit. So I don’t know why I’ve never been — that’s kind of why I don’t play the west coast that much, I struggle with it. I’ll be raring to go that week and hopefully defend it again.

Kevin Reid

Kevin Reid is a Pro Golf Weekly producer and contributor.

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