Hours after his final round on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Brooks Koepka boarded a plane for Las Vegas to get an inspection from the legendary Butch Harmon, father of Koepka’s swing coach, Claude Harmon III. After seven straight rounds in the 70s, including a career-worst 81 on Saturday, Koepka was expecting a Vegas swing bender.
He took just four swings.
If ever there were an indicator of how close Koepka is to finding the form that brought him four major championships and the world’s top ranking, it’s that Butch Harmon told him to get back on that plane and fly back to Florida in advance of this week’s Players Championship. Koepka’s good.
“What Butch said, I mean he saw it in four swings, I think, and told me a couple things and I had planned on being out there all day Tuesday and except he told me to fly home, fly out here and get out here and practice, because he felt like everything was on the right track and now it’s our job to make sure that it progresses and it progresses nicely with Claude,” Koepka said Wednesday at TPC Sawgrass.
The four swings brought just two adjustments, or perhaps just two reinforcements, that focus on a creeping narrowness in his swing, Golfweek reported. All worded in just a way that only a coach who guided Tiger Woods to his first eight major championships can word.
“There’s a few things that were wrong and the two things he told me were the same thing Claude’s been telling me but just in a different way and it clicked or it felt better,” Koepka said. “I can see it in the film now when we’re on the driving range or on the golf course like today, the positions it’s in is a million times better. I’m pleased with it.
“It goes through your whole golf bag, your whole swing, all your tendencies go through your whole golf bag. Obviously I’m a fader of the golf ball. You can see it probably in my putting; my putting is not exactly the perfect stroke, but at the same time, I come over it a little bit and it’s just like my golf swing. And when you get bad tendencies, they seem to go all the way through your putting, and that’s why I’ve struggled so much.”
Koepka did reiterate that his struggles had nothing to do with his surgically repaired left knee. He played through a partially torn patella tendon during the end of last season, then had a stem cell therapy procedure in August. He returned in October for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, missed the cut, then withdrew from the CJ Cup two weeks later because of the knee. He didn’t return to play until late January, also missing the Presidents Cup in December.
“My knee’s fine,” Koepka said. “My knee’s exactly where it should be. It’s just a matter of execution, taking care of what I need to take care of. It has nothing to do with my knee. …
“That’s me, whether it’s lack of concentration, focus, decisiveness, whatever it might be, that’s all on my shoulders, it has nothing to do with anybody else.”
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