Why Brooks Koepka snapped an entire set of irons over his knee (twice!)
One of the neat things about covering golf compared to, say, football, is that there are often lessons we can take from the professional game and apply to our own on-course efforts.
But if there’s a lesson in this story, it’s not an obvious one.
Speaking to reporters before this week’s Genesis Invitational, golf’s favorite curmudgeon admitted he’s felt the full effects of golf frustration these past few months — and decided to take it out on his golf clubs.
“Leading up to it, yeah, I was frustrated,” Koepka said, referring to his three consecutive missed cuts entering his most recent start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Koepka said he’d been doing his best to trust the process, but instead fell into the trap of becoming “results-oriented.” When he didn’t get the results he was looking for, it was club-snapping time.
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“I snapped two sets of irons after playing Mexico and then after Torrey, and I don’t really do that. So there was quite a bit of frustration.”
In simpler times, Koepka’s comment would have elicited a laugh and a murmur around a crowded Genesis press room. Instead it took a follow-up from another reporter on the virtual press conference to get the full story. Luckily that reporter asked what every other Microsoft Teams attendee was wondering.
“Just to clarify one thing, when you say you snapped two sets of irons, did you literally just take every one of them and crack them over your knee?”
“Yeah, yeah, it was over my knee,” Koepka said. “I did it at the house. I wouldn’t do it so everybody else could see … it was in the living room, I walked into the house and just, [here, Koepka made a club-snapping noise] right over the knee.”
It’s worth noting that Koepka has been shuffling iron sets around in recent months, anyway. Evidence would suggest that he actually snapped a set of Mizunos (after Mayakoba in December) and a set of Srixons (after the Farmers). That’s some brand-agnostic breaking. (You can read all about Koepka’s clubs of choice here.)
Koepka said there was no way that video of either incident would ever see the light of day — but he did say he’d texted photos to his friends. One recipient appeared to be Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch, who tweeted an image of seven halved irons.
After missing the cut at Torrey Pines, Koepka said he didn’t leave his room at his rental house a single time on Saturday.
“I was so mad at myself, I didn’t want to talk to anybody,” he said. “I was really agitated, really pissed off. Sometimes you need that. Sometimes you just need to really think about, ‘Alright, hey, this is what I’ve got to do.’ And I did it, I guess.”
He did it, indeed. Koepka followed those three missed cuts with a victory at TPC Scottsdale — a victory he ironically credited to his patient approach down the stretch. But just because the frustration-relief strategy worked this time doesn’t mean he’s planning to make a habit of turning his clubs to kindling.
“No, it’s not a common ritual and I’m not one to break clubs or do anything. I mean, you see me on the golf course, I don’t really slam clubs, don’t get too upset. Just frustration,” he said.
As I said at the top, when it comes to stories with morals at the end this one is hardly The Tortoise and the Hare. You have likely considered snapping a club over your knee. Maybe you’ve even done it, leaving an awkward yardage gap in your irons between the 5 and the 7. But just because Brooks Koepka snapped every iron in his bag does not, in fact, mean you should do the same. And if you snap ’em all, it remains unlikely for you to win a PGA Tour event the following week.
Remember: He has better access to his next set of irons than you do, and even if he ticked off a couple equipment techs in the process, we’re betting he got a brand-new set without headache.
It’s possible there was some positive cathartic effect to the snapping, a healthy release of frustration, like Nick Kyrgios might feel after obliterating a tennis racket. But maybe there’s a way to replicate that same release without replacing an entire set of sticks.
Without any lesson, then, let’s finish with the insight the episode gave into the man behind it: Despite his occasional insistences to the contrary, Koepka actually does care very much about his golf game.
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