El Camaleón Golf Club - Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México
Pre-Tournament Interview: Brooks Koepka
SHARON SHIN: I would like to welcome in Brooks Koepka to the virtual interview room here at the Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN.
Brooks, you're making your second start here at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Can we get some comments?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it's nice to be back, obviously haven't been here in a while. It was good, played nine holes yesterday, just trying to remember the golf course. Obviously there's been a lot of rain, the course is in good shape and hopefully play well.
SHARON SHIN: You notched a couple top-10s in your last two starts. How is your body and your game feeling right now?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It feels good. It couldn't have got much worse than it did over the summer. Everything's a lot better, which is nice. I feel good and hopefully continue.
SHARON SHIN: We'll take some questions from the media.
Q. Brooks, there was a stat, they did a study that accuracy at this course is twice as important as distance in predicting success. I was wondering your thoughts on this course, what your theory would be of how that is. It was an extreme outlier as opposed to any other course on Tour.
BROOKS KOEPKA: The rough's a bit -- you hit it in there -- it's hard to chip. I don't know, (inaudible). It has been over the times he's played and it's tough to control it. (inaudible) got to hit it straight, got to find the fairway.
Q. And I wanted to ask -- I cover the Korn Ferry Tour and your brother is a member out there -- kind of how you describe your brother's game and his strengths and what your relationship is in helping in his career, if you kind of give him a lot of advice or if you stay more hands off?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I was asked to stay more hands off. I let him do his thing, it's his career. (Inaudible) it's fun to watch. I'm following him pretty much every -- I follow him a little bit just to see how he's playing. Hopefully he can get in a few more events and play well. He hits it pretty straight (inaudible) qualified so disappointing to see that. He just needs to get in more events. It's obviously been a crazy year so you don't have that many events to play in if you're not, you know, a full member, I guess, of somebody that's playing consistently week in and week out. You're jumping in here and there trying to Monday qualify, that's tough.
Q. As someone who played on both the European Tour and PGA TOUR pretty extensively, following last week's announcement about the strategic alliance, Keith Pelley talked about a global schedule possibly going forward. How would that benefit a player like you and other top players in the game?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It would help us tremendously. We're I guess more exposed to different places where you can grow our brands personally and become bigger (inaudible). I think that's important. Guys like Tiger (inaudible). It will be a lot easier (inaudible) South America. Depends wherever they want to go, they make it truly like a global tour. It would be well known around the world, which I think could be super, super big for the Tour, PGA TOUR, European Tour. And it's fun. I enjoyed those days back traveling the world. It's fun. I like learning about different cultures.
Q. As it kind of applies to both tours, would this be something that could benefit both of the tours?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't see how it's going to hurt. Obviously the European Tour, they need a little bit of help and I think with the way the PGA TOUR is stretched, how much -- when it comes to sponsors, when it comes to fans, when it comes to all these different things, that's where the European Tour's lacking and I think combining, or not combining but having an interest I guess in the European Tour and bring some of those whether it be sponsors or fans to create the hype around a European Tour event where the hype that we have on the PGA TOUR. Sometimes that's lacking a little bit. As you can see, I played the European Tour, there's not as many fans that come out, especially when we go to England. You're surprised sometimes. They love golf and every time we go to the British Open or Wentworth there's so many fans and then sometimes you get to the, in Scotland, the Dunhill and there's not too many fans. Maybe to be able to bring more notoriety and bring much more energy to the Tour.
Q. Brooks, you've got a couple weeks removed from a pretty solid start at Augusta. I'm wondering just how you think about your week there now a couple weeks out.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it's disappointing, but I mean, I don't think anybody was going to catch DJ. DJ played pretty good. It was kind of coming, I think we all knew that he was going to win more than one major, and the run he had from Travelers until Augusta was pretty impressive. I don't know if -- that stretch of golf will probably go down for one of the best maybe six months we've seen in a long time.
I mean, I'm disappointed, it's not been the year I wanted, but just got to move on and keep pushing through. Augusta just, I wasn't pleased with it, but I guess I get to go back next year.
Q. That's right, you get to go back pretty soon. Do you feel like you get an offseason now? I know it's kind of a short stretch here. And if you do, is there anything you're going to focus on during that time?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Just keep focusing on my fitness, I think that's probably the big thing. Make sure I'm healthy, make sure the hip's good, that will be the main priority. As far as everything else goes, it will be a little bit longer offseason for me because I haven't won, so I'm not going to be in Hawaii. It could change this week, but we'll see. We'll see how it goes. My game I feel like is trending in the right direction. I like where my swing's at, I like how everything is, so I'll just keep working, just keep doing the same stuff I do every offseason.
Q. Brooks, just wondering, how much attention are Mexican players getting from elite PGA TOUR players?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, look at what's gone on, Abraham, Carlos, everybody's -- I think they both had chances in the last couple weeks or the last couple times they've played to close the deal and win. I mean, obviously they've got a bunch of young fans here in Mexico growing up and obviously wanting to be just like them. More attention to the game is always a good thing.
Q. Brooks, I want to just follow up on something Rex asked you about the European Tour, PGA TOUR strategic alliance. Do you think American players want to play more overseas?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I think it depends on the person. I think some guys are pretty set in their ways, pretty comfortable. You look at it, too, I think family plays a big part in that. Other guys are just more comfortable with their family, not traveling as much, getting a little bit older where it's more important to be home. Golf's obviously really important, but at the same time family becomes a little bit more important and it kind of phases out. But I would say the younger guys are definitely more willing to travel and more willing to go over there. I don't have -- started my own family, so I always like to travel. It's one of those things for me that's kind of a no-brainer. I would go in a heartbeat.
Q. How do you sum up your 2020 season?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't know if I could say that without getting fined. Pretty bad.
Q. Do you look at it as a lost year?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, I don't really think about it. I think you guys think about it more than I do. I just kind of from the moment I got hurt until I pulled out or, what was it, I guess when I started back in Vegas, I was pretty pleased. From that point forward or going back to when I got hurt I just think of that as whatever. I don't think about it, it's just one of those things, just trying to fight through it. My body wouldn't let me do things that I wanted to do, so I don't put too much weight on it.
Q. Considering you had a lot of time off, do you plan to play a lot of tournaments early next season, or what's your plan looking for 2021 and goals?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's a little bit different, I think. Definitely going to start on the West Coast and play a little bit more. I think one thing this pandemic kind of taught me is you see a lot of guys don't start their season until March and it kind of bit me and maybe a couple other players this year because you can only jam so many tournaments in. Stretch them out a little bit more and make sure it's a little bit more of a consistent flow throughout the year.
Q. As far as 2021 goals have you looked at some of the majors and where they are and is there something that jumps out at you that's like a great spot for you?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't know, playing to her, I don't know where else we're going. Just kind of see the golf course again and see what's going on, I think that's important. It will be obviously a lot different weather, a lot different conditions, but just nice to see the golf course again.
SHARON SHIN: Brooks, thank you so much for your time and good luck this week.