PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — It’s no coincidence that Brooks Koepka has been making more headlines recently. He’s called slow play “embarrassing.” He’s roasted PGA Tour officials. He called out Sergio Garcia for acting “like a child.” And he likes it that way. “I mean, you’re actually probably getting the real me now,” Koepka said Wednesday at the Honda Classic. So what changed?
“I think before, I was just trying to be politically correct and not stir any bubbles and just kind of go on with things and be unnoticed, and to be honest with you, I feel like now where I’ve put myself in the game, I’ve kind of established myself, and I feel like I do actually have a voice.”
Koepka, who spends far more time watching other sports than golf, said his decision to speak more freely was inspired by other athletes, particularly professional hoops stars. In contrast to the make-no-waves tendencies of PGA Tour players, the NBA is filled with players who speak their mind on nearly everything, from social issues to team dynamics to rules and player rights. Koepka, who was excited to meet Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo last month, has been paying attention.
“That’s kinda where I got it from, just from all these guys who play basketball, they speak their mind, they’re gonna do what they want to do, they’re gonna say what they wanna say,” he said. But he added that he feels like he’s been speaking the truth throughout the process.
“The only thing I’ve said is that slow play is an issue, which we all talk about on the golf course. And then the only other two things were Sergio and Kuchar, and I said exactly what I thought was going on,” Koepka said.
On Wednesday, Koepka put his new free-speaking nature on display. Was it difficult getting his confidence back after his injury last year? Not really. “I feel like I’m borderline cocky when it comes to that,” Koepka said. It must have taken a while to get his game back after four months off, right? Nah. “Two days,” Koepka said. “It’s pretty easy.” Is the Honda Classic going to return to glory in the future after an off-year? “I don’t think so. I think it might take some more hits in the next few years,” Koepka said.
But to ask Justin Thomas, Koepka’s takes have been there this entire time. “No offense,” he said to a room full of reporters. “But nobody really talked to him, so it’s not that he just wasn’t speaking his mind, but there was no one to speak his mind to other than us.”
According to Koepka, golf fans should expect it to continue. “There’s a lot of things I’ve got opinions on, I’m going to say it now. I’m not going to hold anything back. There’s a lot of good things, and there’s some things that need to be changed.”