Koepka Not Paying Attention To Golf's Merger As He Targets 'Double Digit' Majors

The five-time Major champion is concentrating solely on the job at hand ahead of the 2023 US Open at LA Country Club

Brooks Koepka speaks at his US Open press conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka isn't paying any attention to the PGA Tour/PIF merger distractions as he attempts to win his sixth Major, third US Open and continue on his goal of reaching "double digits" in Major wins this week.

The former World No.1 comes into Los Angeles Country Club as third-favorite behind only World No.1 Scottie Scheffler and No.2 Jon Rahm. It's a huge uplift from last year when he was still struggling with his recovery from injury, arriving at The Country Club in Brookline after a missed cut at Augusta and a T55 at the PGA Championship.

This time around, the Floridian is back to his 2017-2019 best and he's enjoying the "chaos" in the build-up as he seeks to lift the US Open trophy for a third time on Sunday.

"Like I've said, the more chaotic things get the easier it gets for me," Koepka said on Tuesday at LACC. "Everything starts to slow down and I am able to focus on whatever I need to focus on while everybody else is dealing with distractions, worried about other things.

"I think there's a few of them [reasons for his success in Majors], but I think it's definitely one of them. I enjoy the chaos."

Koepka, now a five-time Major champion described when he knew that Majors were going to be sole focus in his career, saying how it's golf's four biggest events that are what you're ultimately remembered for.

"At the end of the day, I think one thing that was always kind of harped on me was you knew how many Majors Jack has, you knew how many Tiger has, you knew how many Arnold Palmer has, you knew how many Gary Player, Watson, all these legends, but I never knew how many PGA Tour events or wins they had total," he told media on Tuesday.

"I could tell you going down the list each of them had won, so that was kind of - it's pretty obvious, right? That's what you're judged on. It's Major championships. You look at basketball, you're judged on how many championships you've won, not how many games you've won. Same thing in every sport."

Brooks Koepka holding the US Open trophy

Koepka won his first Major at the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He's hoping to pick up back-to-back Majors this week to take his tally to six, which would tie him with Phil Mickelson, Lee Trevino and Sir Nick Faldo. He's aiming to comfortably surpass them by the end of his career, though.

"Yeah, don't get me wrong, it's better than four, looking for five, so that's definitely a lot better. Yeah, like I said, double digits, that's what I'm trying to get to. I don't think it's out of the question for me.

"I think the way I've prepared, the way I've kind of suited my game for these things is going to help me. And like I said, I'm only 33, so I've definitely got quite a bit of time. I've just got to stay healthy and keep doing what I'm doing."

'I can outlast everybody when it comes to having to par things to death'

The US Open is known as the toughest test in the sport, and Koepka loves that kind of golf. He won his second US Open trophy at Shinnecock Hills in 2018, where the winning score was one-over-par, and last month he won at a brutally difficult PGA Championship test at Oak Hill that featured some of the thickest rough seen in Major golf over recent times.

Los Angeles Country Club looks set to be a testing week for the players yet again where pars will be good scores.

"I just love when I guess maybe somewhere closer to even par wins. If it's going to be a birdiefest where 20-, 21-under wins, that's really not the style," Koepka said.

"I really don't even think I've competed in many golf events over my career where that's happened. But if you look at I would say maybe the majority of my wins, they're all pretty much 10-under and less, which is kind of suited to Major championship golf.

"I just feel like I can outlast everybody when it comes to having to par things to death or just kind of wearing guys out on the golf course and just mentally beating you and knowing when it's my time to kind of take that opportunity and go with it.

"I think being patient is a big thing with that, as well, and just knowing when to go after a flag or when to play cautious."

'I feel like a new person'

The American's off-course struggles have been well documented, particularly in the Netflix Full Swing docuseries, with Koepka struggling with hip and knee injuries that have required surgery and plenty of rehab over the past few years.

He says he feels like a new person and that very few people know just how bad it got, while also admitting that he maybe started playing tournaments a little too early last year.

"Yeah, I feel like a new person, right? It was definitely more confused last year just trying to figure out why I was feeling the way I was feeling," he said.

"I felt like I had enough time from surgery to that point. It's like anything, right? I tried to come back too soon and then it was like, well, if I can walk 18 holes, I can play golf. Just kept playing through it and never let my body heal, and then from there I just created some bad habits.

"By the time you actually figure out that you're starting to get healthy, you've got to get rid of those bad habits and it's a whole new process. It takes a long time. Any athlete that's ever been injured really knows what it's like. It's not fun. It's painful. But you've just got to suck it up and deal with it.

"Yeah, I definitely would have taken probably four or five off, maybe the whole year off."

All of his injuries woes were well and truly put in the past after his stunning PGA Championship triumph last month, where he won his third Wanamaker Trophy and first Major in four years. All of the struggles meant that it was his sweetest Major win yet.

Brooks Koepka with the trophy after his 2023 PGA Championship victory

Koepka won his fifth Major at the 2023 PGA Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"This last one for sure [was his favorite Major win]," he said. "They all mean something different, but this last one, for all the stuff I had to deal with, all the pain, the tears, all the stuff that went into it, like I said, there's probably five, seven people in this whole world that really know what I went through and that were there kind of every step of the way.

"I think they enjoyed it maybe even more than I did."

'I haven't paid too much attention to it'

And on the small matter of the PGA Tour's framework merger with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, the LIV Golfer said he found out at the same time as everyone else and claims that he isn't paying much attention to what's going on.

"I haven't paid too much attention to it, honestly," he said. "I've been trying to prep for this week. I'm just trying to make sure I come into a Major championship. There's four weeks a year I really care about and this is one of them, and I want to play well.

"So I wasn't going to waste any time on news that happened last week. I saw it. I was sitting at Grove at the bar there having breakfast and I saw it on TV. Watched a little bit of the interview, and that was it. Just went out and practised.

"It didn't matter to me. Like I said, I'm trying to focus on this week. I think that's why I've been really good at Majors, honestly, too."

He did admit that the news came as a surprise, and told reporters that there's a few tournaments in particular that he'd like to play again if the LIV golfers are allowed to return to the PGA and DP World Tours.

"Yeah, I think there was [surprise by the news]. It was just kind of -- because we didn't hear anything about it. I think that's the one thing that shocked everybody the most," he said.

"I think I ran into Rickie and JT after watching the whole thing and I asked if they knew, and they said they didn't know, either. They were kind of learning about it. They were on the back of the range, so I probably saw them 30 minutes after the news broke.

"I mean, like I said, I'm not going to go into the future. I don't have a crystal ball with me. I'm just worried about the US Open. If I can get to No. 6 pretty quick, that would be nice.

"Yeah, I mean there's always - you have your favorite events. I've always enjoyed Waste Management [WM Phoenix Open]. I thought that was a fun event. But I think that kind of goes into the whole thing with like the chaos. There's a lot of people, a lot of things going on, where it's a lot of fun to play. I've enjoyed it. I've won there twice. That's one place I guess I miss playing.

"But yeah, I'd have to go through the whole schedule. Memphis I've always played well. There's certain events you always liked. Even Dunhill, I've always liked Dunhill. I thought that was a fun event. St Andrews is my favorite."

Koepka plays with Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama over the first two days at LACC.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x