If you read between the lines, Brooks Koepka, the second-ranked player in the world, was miffed he didn’t receive a pre-tournament press conference at this week’s Tour Championship.
He felt disrespected, again. Koepka’s coach, Claude Harmon III, first aired this grievance at the PGA Championship, and that was before Koepka outran Tiger Woods to win his second straight major and third overall. Koepka talked more about feeling snubbed in his winner’s press conference that Sunday night.
Tracked down at East Lake Wednesday by Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker, the likely PGA Tour Player of the Year seemed to brush off this week’s snub… until he didn’t.
“I don’t need to bend over backwards to be friends with anyone [in the media], but certain guys do that because they want their names written,” Koepka told Wacker. “I’d rather be written about because of my play. Sometimes it does suck, but I’ve started to care less. Come Sunday, I won’t forget it when everyone wants to talk to me because I just won. I don’t forget things.”
All this begs this question: Why wasn’t Koepka invited to a pre-tourney presser? According to the PGA Tour’s communications department, when reached for comment by GOLF.com, the selection process begins with officials gathering players who the media has requested to interview; a select group of reporters is then often polled to ensure the lineup fulfills their needs.
This week the Tour brought in the top five in the FedEx Cup standings — Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas — because they are the only players who can win the FedEx Cup simply by winning the Tour Championship (Koepka is 7th in the standings). The other three players asked to the podium were Xander Schauffele (the defending champion), Keegan Bradley (winner of the last playoff event) and Tiger Woods (14 majors).
“[The media] has their guys they wanna talk to,” Koepka told Wacker. “I’m not one of them and that’s fine.”
The Tour’s communications department added that it is actively working to raise Koepka’s profile and generate more media coverage about him but in ways that are authentic to Koepka’s personality.