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Sports Column: Trash talk and then some trashy play for Koepka

05:30  10 august  2020
05:30  10 august  2020 Source:   msn.com

Koepka matches career best round for lead at WGC in Memphis

  Koepka matches career best round for lead at WGC in Memphis MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Brooks Koepka has been working hard to fix his game even with an injured left knee. He put everything together Thursday. The defending champ matched his career best with an 8-under 62 to take a two-stroke lead over Rickie Fowler and Brendon Todd after the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. A week after missing the cut in Minnesota in the 3M Open, Koepka had nine birdies and a bogey on a windy day at TPC Southwind in the World Golf Championship event. He credits all his work with coaches Claude Harmon and Pete Cowen rather than how comfortable he is on this course.

Brooks Koepka trash talked Michael Jordan on the golf course and then lost.

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Maybe Brooks Koepka should have followed the old golf adage — as tired as it may be — and let his clubs do the talking.

At the very least, he should have given his driver a say.

A day after he raised eyebrows by suggesting some of his fellow players might not be up to the task of winning the PGA Championship, Koepka wasn’t either. He imploded on the front nine Sunday with three straight bogeys to lose his chance at a third straight title and fifth major overall.

Koepka confident he can 3-peat: Harding Park 'plays into my hands'

  Koepka confident he can 3-peat: Harding Park 'plays into my hands' Brooks Koepka is confident he can become the first player to win three consecutive PGA Championships since 1927 at a venue he believes rewards his biggest weapon - power. "I'm excited. This is a big-boy golf course." Koepka said of TPC Harding Park on Tuesday. "You've got to hit it straight and put it in the fairway. It's going to be quite long. I think it kind of plays into my hands." Koepka outdueled Tiger Woods at Bellerive Country Club in 2018 for his second major victory that season. Last year, he outlasted the field at Bethpage Black - a course that also rewarded his world-class driving ability.

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The meltdown was startling for a player so full of confidence that he couldn’t help but talk some trash the night before. So was the decision that started it all, playing safe with an iron on the driveable par-4 seventh hole instead of trying to come from behind and make birdie — or even eagle — with a driver in his hand.

The iron shot went into a lousy lie in the deep rough and started the bogey string. When it was over, so were Koepka’s chances in a tournament won by 23-year-old Collin Morikawa, who didn’t lay up when it really mattered.

It wasn’t so much that Koepka didn’t win. With a ton of players in contention Sunday, anything was possible.

But he violated the unwritten rule of golf at the top level, especially when he noted final round favourite Dustin Johnson had only won one major. And that might stay with a lot more of his fellow players than anything that happened on a typical San Francisco day at Harding Park.

Koepka's hip, not the knee, causing a problem at the PGA

  Koepka's hip, not the knee, causing a problem at the PGA SAN FRANCISCO — Brooks Koepka came into the PGA Championship concerned about a left knee that may or may not require more surgery when he gets a chance to catch his breath. But that's not what had him sprawled on on the ground at Harding Park while a trainer work on him. “It was my hip,” Koepka said. The two-time defending champion said his hip felt tight when he woke Friday. He worked out and it didn't get much better. And even after he loosened it up, the tightness returned when he was warming up on the range. His trainer came out on the 12th hole, and then twice more on the back nine, all while Koepka was hanging around the lead by not losing any ground.

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“Sort of hard to knock a guy (Johnson) that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has,” Rory McIlroy said.

Koepka, of course, has never been lacking for confidence. His cockiness borders on arrogance and, while he mostly speaks the truth, that rubs some people the wrong way in the genteel game of golf.

Still, there’s no arguing with his success. He’s not only won back-to-back PGA Championships, but back-to-back U.S. Opens. Though he only has seven wins overall, he is almost always in contention on Sunday in majors, including the Masters last year when he finished second.

Koepka came into the week with the last two PGA trophies on his mantle, and quickly declared himself ready to win a third. For the better part of three rounds he seemed poised to do just that, despite a string of three bogeys Saturday that put him two shots behind going into the final round.

Standing in front of a disinfected microphone after his third round, Koepka sounded like the Wanamaker trophy was already his once again.

Three-peat? 3 straight bogeys leave Koepka in neutral at PGA

  Three-peat? 3 straight bogeys leave Koepka in neutral at PGA Bogey, bogey, bogey. This was not what Brooks Koepka had in mind when he was thinking about three in a row at the PGA Championship. Now, if he's going to become the first player to three-peat at the PGA since Walter Hagen did it in the 1920s, he'll have to win his first in come-from-behind fashion. It's all because of those three straight 5s he made — on the par-4 13th, 14th and 15th holes Saturday at chilly Harding Park. “I thought I played aThis was not what Brooks Koepka had in mind when he was thinking about three in a row at the PGA Championship.

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“I like my chances,” he said. “When I’ve been in this position before, I’ve capitalized. I don't know, he's (Johnson) won only one.”

Turns out Koepka was targeting the wrong player. Johnson was in contention much of the day but it was Morikawa — playing in only his second major — who showed experience doesn’t always matter when he pulled out a driver on No. 16 and knocked it to 7 feet on his way to an eagle that gave him the lead and, eventually, the tournament.

Koepka, meanwhile, was on his way to the airport after shrugging it off as just another day on the links.

“I mean, it’s my first bad round in a while in a major,” he said.

The good news for Koepka is there’s another major just around the corner, the same U.S. Open he’s already won twice. The Masters will be in November, so there’s plenty of opportunity to add to his trophy case in the tournaments he gets up most for.

If he and Johnson aren’t best buddies anymore, well, he’s good with that, too. Too much was made of that friendship, he suggested earlier in the week, just because he and Johnson liked to work out together a few years ago.

DJ, big hitters atop tight leaderboard for 4th round of PGA

  DJ, big hitters atop tight leaderboard for 4th round of PGA The bad news: The final-round “Battle of the Titans” golf fans have been clamouring for — Brooks “Big Game” Koepka vs. Bryson “The Brain” DeChambeau with a tournament on the line — won’t be coming to a PGA Championship near you. At least not on this Sunday. The good: If Saturday’s Round 3 at TPC Harding Park is any indication of what’s to come, the first major of this COVID-19 season won’t lack for fireworks. Koepka, the two-time defending champion, faced a gut check after making three straight bogeys and promptly responded by birdieing two of his last three holes to shoot 69 and stay two shots of the lead.

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Koepka will remain true to himself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s how he approaches golf — and life — and for the most part it’s been a successful formula.

No apologies offered. No excuses given.

“You know, hey, it wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “Three in a row, you’re not really supposed to do two in a row looking at history but that’s all right. Got two more the rest of the season and we’ll figure it out from there.”

___

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

Tim Dahlberg, The Associated Press


Video: Morikawa astonishes, wins 1st major at PGA Championship (cbc.ca)

Koepka downplays friendship with DJ: 'You guys make your own stories' .
Brooks Koepka says he and Dustin Johnson were never as close as the media portrayed them to be. "Yeah," Koepka said with a nod when asked if people made too much of his friendship with DJ, according to Golf.com's Dylan Dethier. "We worked out for - I worked with Joey for two years. Yeah, I mean, I don't know." Koepka and Johnson trained together with golf fitness coach Joey Diovisalvi earlier in their careers. The two golfers were connected in television segments, magazine covers, and press conferences.Brooks even called DJ one of his "best friends" after the 2018 Ryder Cup, but his tone on their relationship has changed.

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