MORE INTERVIEWS: Frys.com Open transcripts archive
THE MODERATOR: Okay, 4‑under par, 67 for Brooks Koepka today at the Frys.com Open. Two shot lead after a 54 holes.
Brooks, if we could just get some comments on your round.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, got off to a good start today. Seem to be doing that every day out here, so that makes the round a little bit easier. Played really solid. Made a couple putts. Lag putting wasn't very good.
Hopefully work on that and get it prepared for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, let's go into questions.
Q. Talk about the first two birdie putts. I know it's a long day, but those weren't necessarily tap‑ins.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, that first hole was interesting. You know, made it, so I was like, Holy cow. Looked like it was going in from my angle the whole way. We were joking he gave me a good read.
The second hole I just felt like I was going to make it. I felt like that all week. Get over certain putts from like 15, 20 feet and just feel real comfortable on these greens. That's always good, when you're confident going into the putt.
Q. This might be a bit of a memory test, but do you know where you stood in 54 holes in each of those four Challenge Tour win?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I was ahead.
Q. All of them?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yep.
Q. And they were by pretty big margins. Talk about how you feel holding a 54‑hole lead?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, it's nice. Better than being behind. What is it now, two shots? Two is better than one.
Q. What were the other two wins?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Scotland, Madeira, and then one was in Spain. Trying to remember the other one. I can't remember. I don't remember.
Q. Did you feel any differently out there today than you did the first two or was it the same feeling?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Actually struck the ball really well today. Felt like I was hitting it good, hitting all my lines. You know, done that the last two days.
I felt really confident over the short putts today. I felt like I could be aggressive. Obviously I wasn't very aggressive with the longer putts, but the short ones, they were going in the center of the hole. That's always a big confidence boost.
Q. George McNeill said you contacted him about advice.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I called him right after I qualified for the U.S. Open at Olympic Club and just talked to him a little bit, you know, to kind of get prepared for the golf course and things like.
He gave ‑‑ you just to be relaxed. Your game is good enough to come out here and play.
Q. You ever met George?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, yeah, I've seen him around. Met him. Yeah. We just crossed paths at the Olympic Club. Maybe not the Olympic Club. Somewhere else we've crossed paths. He's always talked about at Florida State, too. Him and Jonas. They were always talked about when I was there.
Q. You play any practice rounds with Jonas?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No, we usually play a practice round every once in a while. Try to get together. I think try to go to dinner tonight or something like that. It's always good to run into him. Never get to see him that much and I feel like we're pretty close.
Q. Did you overlap at Florida State?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No, we just missed each other. He was on his way out when I was coming in.
Q. Challenge de Catalunya. Spain?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah.
Q. Montecchia Golf Open. Madeira?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Oh, that was Italy. Italy was the other one.
Q. Fred Olsen Challenge de España.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah. That was in Spain.
Q. And then Scotland?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yep.
Q. Do you believe that winning is winning in terms of building confidence? Along with a two‑shot lead to your advantage is the taste of winning four times in the last year.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, you know, it's kind of funny. I didn't really win much growing up. I felt like I was always close, put myself in position, and never was able to come through.
You know ever since turned professional I feel like I've won more professional events. The Challenge Tour prepared me pretty well. I feel like learning how to win, that is a big deal. Hopefully I can take it over to tomorrow.
Q. I know early on in your career you guys just all came out on fire. First two holes I think you were combined 7‑under.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah.
Q. Is there a dynamic there? Obviously you can't carry that the whole round. How about the dynamic of your group? You guys were just kind of jousting out there it seemed like.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, it was fun. You know, Robert, it was fun playing with him, and Jason also. We had some good conversations out there. Helped keep you relaxed. We had a good group going.
As far as play goes, that's always a big thing. Everybody in the group was playing well. That always makes it easier.
Q. You're used to playing in the lead as you said. But, Hey, you let one go. You come off the fast start and then you kind of plateau a little bit at least in terms of the score. Then you let one back. Do you kind of at some point say‑‑ in your mind you have to regroup a little bit?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I don't think it was a regrouping. The birdies are going to come. I felt like I made a lot of them this week. I don't know how many exactly I've made.
Just got to stay patient. I think that front end is a little tougher. That's where you're talking about, the end the front nine?
Q. Yeah, I guess so.
BROOKS KOEPKA: You just got to hang in there. I was waiting for the back nine. It suits me a little better. Yeah.
Q. When a course is set up for scoring as it was today, tees pushed forward and you're in the lead in your first regular TOUR event, just talk about...
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, you know, you got to‑‑ I don't think you can play overly aggressive and you can't play not to lose, either.
You got to be conservatively aggressive. I felt like I was doing that. I'm trying to think, you know, 17, never once thought about laying up. Couple tees were pushed forward and made it kind of‑‑ it was different for us because our whole group bonded today. I mean, we were hitting it miles.
So it was like a ‑‑ what was the par‑5, 15? Things like that kind of took the water out of play, so it was just kind of bomb it down there for us.
Trying to think if there was there another tee that was moved up. Was there another one? Not sure.
Q. No. 9.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, 9 made it actually kind of interesting for us. I believe at the time it was downwind. You know, driver from the back, if it's downwind, we can't hit it.
Kind of made 3‑wood, if I had hit the same 3‑wood I did on 18 I would have been in the water if I'd a gone through. I didn't exactly hit the best 3‑wood out there on the right.
Yeah, it was a bit different. We had to really think around, our way around the golf course.
Q. (Question regarding No. 17.)
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, I mean, we were trying to hit it just in the hole obviously, but just a little bit left in case it did go through. Had that slope in the back.
But actually hit it pretty good. Just started a little bit right of target and obviously faded in there. But it was fun.
Q. I think you mentioned the other day about not playing any Walker Cups or Palmer Cups and what have you.
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah.
Q. Were you close at all or just a late bloomer?
BROOKS KOEPKA: You know, I felt like I had a good chance to make the Palmer Cup one year and wasn't selected. But other than that, I never had a chance for Walker Cup. It's tough when you got guys like Pete and Bud Cauley and Rickie Fowler. I think he was the beginning of that.
Got so many good players. Look at all the young guys you out here now. They're really good. John Peterson, guys like that. It's tough to make it, but‑‑ Ben Cole, I don't think Ben Cole's ever made it. Might have made a Palmer Cup.
So many good, young players.
Q. Motivate you at all?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, a little bit.
Q. Did you feel left out?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Not left out, just felt maybe I had to work a little bit harder. Had a little something to prove.
Q. Feel any different three rounds here compared to three rounds in a Challenge Tour event?
BROOKS KOEPKA: No. Feels the same. It's all how much pressure you put on yourself. Obviously I think there may be some people that don't think I can handle it on Sunday just for the fact that I've never been sitting in this position.
Just got to take it as it comes and just be relaxed about it. I'm pretty chill, so nothing really bothers me. Don't get too up or down.
THE MODERATOR: Brooks, tomorrow should be fun.
Q. How did the money game go with Mickelson?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I lost. The PGA, we lost, so I'm looking to get back at him. We played well. Him and Rickie have done a good job beating me. Hopefully we get back at them.
Q. Was it just good fun?
BROOKS KOEPKA: It's good. I was asking Phil why he does it. Get good preparation on Tuesday. Can kind of assess your game, figure out where you're at, and on Wednesday work on things, some shots you weren't able to hit or things like that. Figure out what you need to work on with your game going into Thursday. I think it's great the way he does it.
Q. Was it a close loss or did you get destroyed?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Yeah, we've been close every time. I think they beat us on 17 at the Open, and our match went to 18 at the PGA. They have been close. Fun though. It's good fun. Phil is a good guy. I really enjoy playing with him.
Obviously known Rickie for a while and have become close with him living down there in West Palm.
THE MODERATOR: All right, Brooks, appreciate your time.