Koepka Reveals Congratulations Text From McIlroy Prior To Masters Practice Round
Following his victory at the LIV Orlando event, Koepka revealed that McIlroy congratulated him as the two played a practice round at Augusta National
Heading into The Masters, a lot has been made about the reception that LIV golfers will receive when they tee it up in the first Major of the year. Certainly, since a number of players jumped ship to the Saudi-backed series, relationships by those on the PGA Tour and LIV Golf circuit have been affected, but some haven't, as was the case with Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka on Tuesday.
Playing a practice round together at Augusta National, Koepka revealed that, following his LIV Orlando victory on Sunday, McIlroy in fact texted the American to congratulate him on his one shot victory.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Koepka announced: "He (McIlroy) texted me congrats on Sunday, then I asked him if he wanted to play (at Augusta National). We had that scheduled. It wasn't just a random show up on the tee."
The four-time Major winner added "I mean, I think everybody forgets that we see each other in off weeks and play with each other and talk with each other. There's an open line of communication there between me and him. I think we're both pretty honest in where we're at."
Prior to the tournament in Orlando, Koepka also backed up his claims from Tuesday's press conference, with the American stating, at the time, that he saw McIlroy before the third LIV tournament of 2023. “We see each other quite a bit," stated Koepka at LIV's press conference. "I was talking with Rory for probably about 30 minutes just about the ball and all the other stuff that’s going on. No one is angry at anybody from what I’ve seen.”
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It's no secret that McIlroy has been outspoken about the LIV Golf League. Back in February 2022, at the Genesis Invitational, he said that the league was "dead in the water", before the Northern Irishman became somewhat of a spokesperson for the PGA Tour, admitting that the proposed changes on the PGA Tour to limited-field, no-cut events have been brought about thanks to LIV Golf exploiting some weaknesses in the previous framework.
However, multiple players have said that the PGA Tour vs LIV drama will be put to one side this week for The Masters, with it being all eyes on business when the tournament gets underway on Thursday.
Speaking about their practice round on Tuesday, Koepka stated that: "It's more just two friends wanting to play together. I guess you could look at it that way. But yeah, I just wanted to play with him, just compare my game. I know he's been playing well. So it was good for me to see, and I think it's fun to be able to go play with these guys.
"We haven't played with these guys in a long time, so just getting out to go play with them has been nice because it's been a lot of just seeing everybody. It's been probably, I don't know, eight months since we've seen a lot of guys."
Along with the practice round, Koepka claimed that the reception of the LIV golfers at Augusta National has "been good," with the 32-year-old adding "we're still close with these guys, still see them. A lot of them down in Jupiter, so you see them quite a bit. I mean, nothing new. Probably about maybe ten guys I just haven't seen or communicated with. But everything's been good, man. We're still the same people."
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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