For many players, missing the cut at a tournament the week before a major championship might be cause for concern. But for four-time major winner Brooks Koepka? Not so much.
The world’s eighth-ranked player fired rounds of 72-73 (+3) that included seven bogeys and a double to miss the cut at the Palmetto Championship by two shots. But less than a week away from attempting to win his third U.S. Open in five years, Koepka insisted he’s unbothered by his performance in South Carolina.
“I just need tournament reps and trying to hit different shots on your competition,” Koepka said on Friday. “I’ve missed so much of the season just with the knee, where I feel like I’m already a little bit behind. I like where my game’s at. I’m striking it well, putting it well. So I don’t see anything wrong. It’s just, like I said, maybe a little lack of focus and maybe — these weeks before the majors, I start thinking about next week instead of where I’m at. It’s not an excuse, but it just needs to be better. I need to be where I’m at currently, even more present in this tournament than thinking about next week.”
If there’s anything we know about Koepka, it’s that a missed cut one week certainly doesn’t dictate his performance the following week. Back in May, Koepka missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson before finishing second to Phil Mickelson at the following week’s PGA Championship.
“I don’t try to miss a cut,” Koepka said. “I don’t know, I just have a harder time focusing in regular PGA Tour events than I do majors. Majors, I know I’m locked in from the moment I hit the first tee shot. Even walking from the first tee shot to the ball, my head is still going on what I need to do. Out here I kind of lose focus for a little bit. I’ve got to figure it out. That’s why I struggle, I think, in regular events. It’s the focus and the energy, the excitement level just isn’t there when it would be in a major. It’s different. I thrive off that bigger stage, that big moment where there’s a bunch of fans and a tough golf course. I love it.”
It’s clear that for Koepka, it doesn’t take a high finish in a PGA Tour event to build his confidence. He says he already feels prepared for the tough week ahead at Torrey Pines.
“I’m playing really good. I like the way I’m striking the ball. I like the way I’m putting the ball too. Just seemed to be a little bit of speed control,” Koepka said. “I like where I’m at. I’ll take it to next week.”
The 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. begins on June 17.