The surprising reason Brooks Koepka doesn’t want to play events without fans

Brooks Koepka takes a selfie with a fan

Brooks Koepka takes a selfie with a fan at a recent PGA Tour event.

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It’s been over a month since we’ve seen Brooks Koepka tee it up on the PGA Tour in front of TV cameras and packed galleries. And based on the tentative plans for the Tour’s return, we might not get to see the four-time major champ swamped by spectators for some time to come.

The Tour currently aims to conduct events without fans in attendance when play returns this June, beginning with the Charles Schwab Challenge, and continuing at least for the next three weeks. Koepka joined Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast last week and shared his thoughts about playing golf in front of empty grandstands. Let’s just say he’s on the fence about the idea.

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“It’s going to be weird,” Koepka told PMT. “We live off the fans… The energy that the fans bring, that’s what we all live for, we all strive for. You want to play coming down the stretch and having everybody cheering for you.”

Weirdest of all, according to Koepka, is the thought of sinking a winning putt at a big event only to be greeted by awkward silence.

“Imagine this, you sink the putt on the last hole and no one’s clapping. You’re just there by yourself,” Koepka joked, “and you’re like, ‘Yes!’ Just you, your caddie, and silence.”

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But Koepka revealed another, less obvious negative consequence to playing tournaments without fans: it could hurt some players’ scores.

“Every once in a while we just hit some foul balls and fans kind of help you find it. So guys are going to lose balls because of that,” Koepka told PMT.

The PMT hosts proposed one other way pro golf could return sooner rather than later while maintaining proper social distancing, by using a drone to film the action instead of whole TV crews. And while Koepka doesn’t love the idea of playing without fans, the outside-the-box drone idea piqued his interest.

“Yeah, it could work. You could literally do it down here in Jupiter where 20 guys are here and just go play,” Koepka said, referring to the abundance of pro golfers who call Jupiter, Fla., home. “You could make it work.”

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Koepka also admitted that he hasn’t been playing golf since the shutdown began, instead choosing to take advantage of the break while he can by “chilling” and “trying to get that six-pack back.” (Desperate for some sports action, he’s even resorted to watching e-sports.)

But he assured everyone that his game and mind will be ready when the compact rescheduled major season arrives later this year.

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“It’s major season, you’ve got to figure out a way to get up for it. You just have to make sure you’re getting tuned up for them, that’s all you’ve got to do.”

You can listen and watch the entire PMT podcast with Koepka here.

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