There were eight players shuttled into the media center for pre-tournament press conferences ahead of this week’s Tour Championship — Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Keegan Bradley.
Conspicuously absent from that list was the only two-time major winner on the planet this season and the virtually-guaranteed PGA Tour Player of the Year: Brooks Koepka. And you better believe he and his team took notice.
“Are you surprised?” Claude Harmon, Koepka’s swing coach, told GolfDigest.com’s Brian Wacker. “You can say he and DJ don’t talk that much, but we continue to find it surprising. We’ll make jokes about it. (Brooks is) the most under-the-radar three-time major winner of all time.”
“(The media) has their guys they wanna talk to,” Koepka said. “I’m not one of them and that’s fine.”
The likely Player of the Year wasn’t asked to be interviewed this week at the season finale, and he noticed https://t.co/1dSpj5iCgN
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) September 19, 2018
Except, that doesn’t appear to be fine with the second-ranked player in the world. Clearly one to hold a grudge, as he proved at the 2017 U.S. Open and more recently, the 2018 PGA Championship winner’s press conferences, Koepka has a long memory and doesn’t take kindly to slights, so not being asked to talk before the season finale was something he has already turned into motivation.
“You’ve got guys who will kiss up, and I’m not gonna kiss up,” Koepka told Wacker. “I don’t need to kiss anyone’s butt. I’m here to play golf. I’m not here to do anything else. A lot of guys are known for the stuff they do off the golf course and who they like to hang around. It’s pretty obvious who’s doing that and who isn’t. I don’t need to bend over backwards to be friends with anyone (in the media), but certain guys do that because they want their names written. I’d rather be written about because of my play.
“Sometimes it does suck, but I’ve started to care less. Come Sunday, I won’t forget it when everyone wants to talk to me because I just won. I don’t forget things.”