Because golf is an individual sport, it’s hard to get to know every player that makes it onto the Tour. It’s moments like these, when someone wins a Major for the first time, that fans get an inside look into the life of a golfer they barely know.
Brooks Koepka made his debut on to the PGA Tour in 2014 and his first win came a year later at the 2015 Waste Management Open. But it’s not always easy to live the Tour life, and traveling woes ended up wedging their way into Koepka’s strong mental game. He was heading into the fourth round of a tournament he was leading when he suddenly felt the need to quit the game altogether.
“I called (agent) Blake Smith the night of the third round (of the Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore),” Koepka told the Daily Mail. “I called him and I was like, I don’t even want to play, I just want to go home. I was kind of, I don’t want to say homesick, it was just tired of golf and tired of traveling.”
“I just wanted to be home, even though I think I had the lead at that point and was about to win the third one. For some reason I just wanted to get out and go home. I’ve never felt that way. I don’t even know what was going on. I think I had played so many weeks in a row, not a day off, it really got to me.”
Fans forget that being a professional golfer is not always rainbows and butterflies, as John Mayer would put it, it’s compromise that moves us along. But seriously, these players put their personal lives on hold, pushing themselves to make tournaments that fit their schedule, and sometimes they play more. They’re constantly on the road to the next course and even someone who has a great headspace like Koepka, can break down.
Fortunately, Koepka ended up finishing the tournament and took home the win by a three shot margin. Now he looks up to players like Dustin Johnson, who motivate him to keep going.
“I felt like I put myself in contention so many times and I don’t want to say got unlucky, but just felt like It just never fully came together. I put myself in some good chances over the majors over the last few years and never really quite came through.
“I just felt like I should be winning more. I’m not a big fan of losing, I don’t think anyone out here is. And I just couldn’t stand the fact that I’d only won once (on the tour).
He can put that thought to bed now. With his second win on Tour being the 117th U.S. Open, he brought himself into the top 10 in the World for the first time. Even with the travel, there’s a drive now compelling him to see how far he can really go.
“I thought the way my game sets up I think I can win multiple times a year, I really do. And I think this is hopefully major number one and there’s many more to come.”
With Dustin Johnson in his ear singing songs of praise, there’s nothing this new found golf star can’t do.