But that’s not what Koepka was asked for in his 15-minute media Q&A that was noteworthy. This is what he was not asked that made Thursday different.
Not once after his opening under 69 has the two-time US Open champion been asked about blood feuds or “bro beefs” or Bryson DeChambeau. After dominating the conversation for three weeks, Koepka found the only way to change the narrative: to play well.
Thursday at Torrey Pines was the Brooks vintage. He birdieed his third hole of the day and added two more at No.8 and 9 to dispense with a bogey for the day. As the US Open South Course faltered against the best in the world, Koepka looked like he was playing the Farmers Insurance Open South Course and shared the lead with another birdie at number 2 (he started on the 10e hole).
Even his first bogey of the day on the third hole had an air of sophistication after firing his tee shot through a cannon to the left of the green before rushing towards what in the national championship would qualify as a good bogey.
“You’re going to make mistakes here. You cannot do double bogeys. If you can limit these to bogeys, you’ll be fine, ”he said.
The savvy crowd will notice that making mistakes is also inevitable in life, just as they are in golf. And just like in golf, it is best to limit these mistakes. It didn’t appear that Koepka did this during his ongoing breakup with DeChambeau.
US Open: open field scores | Full coverage
It all started innocently enough when a viral video of an unreleased interview with the Golf Channel at the PGA Championship surfaced where Koepka is visibly annoyed as DeChambeau walks behind him.
It could have stopped there. Both sides of the championship medal could have ruled out the incident and golf would have evolved. But Brooks had other ideas.
Two weeks ago at the Memorial when fans heckled DeChambeau with chants of “Let’s go, Brooskie!” Koepka crossed the line when he posted a video on Twitter offering a free Michelob Ultra case to any fan whose time was “cut short” at the tournament. The reference was to fans who were escorted out of Muirfield Village for heckling DeChambeau.
The hubbub followed the two players at this week’s US Open when reports surfaced that the USGA had approached DeChambeau to play rounds 1 and 2 with Koepka. Both players have denied being asked about the potential pairing and, like a pair of petulant second-graders on a timeout, officials went the other way and put the two as far on the sheet as possible. starting point.
DeChambeau had just left for Torrey Pines because Koepka wasn’t answering questions about him. Koepka had changed the narrative with a brilliant sub-par performance that only left him two strokes ahead.
It was familiar. It was Brooks at his best on a demanding golf course which made the old game so easy. It’s now been four straight starts of the US Open with Koepka in the chase. He missed last fall’s edition due to injury, but before that he won in 2017 and 2018 and was second in the 2019 championship.
After months of injuries – some physical, like the diseased knee and hip that forced him to miss the 20’s championship, and some self-inflicted, like his curious dust with DeChambeau which is of no use to anything but d ‘being a distraction – this was the fierce competitor who at times seemed to have been created in a lab to win major championships.
“I just have a good game plan, focused, I know what I’m doing and I’m not trying to do anything that I can’t do. It’s just a matter of discipline in a US Open. This is, I guess, the main thing, he said simply.
It’s a phrase that has served Koepka well in her career and could possibly apply to her everyday life. All of those things that make him a major magician may have helped him avoid a public feud that no one won.
It’s the discipline and dedication to a plan that has made Koepka a threat every time he shows up at a Grand Slam event. This is how he was finally able to change the narrative.