It’s easy and perhaps a little reductive to say that Brooks Koepka doesn’t care. Perhaps that’s why we hear it so often.
Brooks doesn’t care about PGA Tour events. Brooks doesn’t care about his public image. Brooks doesn’t care about his fellow pros.
Recently, Koepka’s words have doused the “don’t care” flames in lighter fluid.
Brooks doesn’t care about the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Brooks doesn’t care about his teammates. Brooks doesn’t even care about the Ryder Cup!
From a safer distance, it’s clear that Brooks Koepka does, in fact, care. He cares a tremendous amount. It’s evident in his physical preparation — his relentless approach toward diet and exercise is well-documented. It’s evident in his golf game, most notably his attempt to compete in the Masters on what could charitably be described as one leg and zero preparation. It is also evident in his personality, and in the ever-so-subtle shift from disengaged to disgruntled that joined his press conference on Thursday at the Ryder Cup.
“I’m like glass,” Koepka said disgustedly. “So I wouldn’t say I am 100 percent. Left knee, right knee. I’m broken, man.”
The root cause of Koepka’s crabby outlook seems not to be a lack of interest in his day job but, as he suggests, an inability to take part in it. His last two years have been defined by injury, evidenced nowhere more than his knees, where he’s had more significant injuries (two) than he’s had wins (one).
Thursday was far from the first public moment of frustration from Brooks about the status of his body. He was visibly upset during his aforementioned Masters performance in April, and audibly upset after it.
“How f—— disappointed do you think I am?” Koepka said at the time. “I worked my a— off just to get here, and then to play like this is pretty disappointing.”
He finally seemed to be recovering heading into the fall, but the injury bug bit yet again. Koepka was forced to withdraw from the Tour Championship earlier this month, this time with a wrist injury that cast some doubt upon his health for the Ryder Cup. He made it to Sheboygan without a setback, and enters his third Ryder Cup with every plan of once again being a workhorse for the Americans.
“I feel fine. I feel as good as I’ve felt in a long time,” Koepka said. “Over the past week and a half, I did a lot of work on it with Derek Samuel, my trainer. He was down with me for about eight days, so able to kind of work everything out and make sure it’s fine.”
Koepka is ready for the Ryder Cup, and he wants it badly.
“I feel good,” he said. “I’m ready to go as much or as little as they want.”
The question, as Brooks is tired of hearing, is whether his body agrees.