Koepka shares the lead … and his thoughts about getting naked
August 22, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Brooks Koepka gets up-and-down for birdie at TOUR Championship
ATLANTA – It was fun. It was rewarding. And yes …
“Getting naked's a bit weird, the first time you actually pull that robe off in front of 30, 40 people,” said Brooks Koepka, the world’s top-ranked golfer and the latest one to appear in ESPN’s Body Issue.
On his Instagram account Wednesday, Koepka posted a photo revealing the fact he’ll be in the magazine’s annual feature of athletes without uniforms – or any other kind of clothing for that matter. (The issue is available in early September.)
On Thursday, after shooting a 3-under 67 that moved him into a three-way tie for the lead at the TOUR Championship – he’s now 10 under in the new Starting Strokes format, sharing the score with Xander Schauffele (64) and Justin Thomas (70) – Koepka revealed his thoughts.
“It was something I enjoyed,” he said. “I was looking forward to it for months. It’s something I definitely don’t regret doing. It’s been enjoyable to see the pictures over the last couple of months and see, I guess, all the hard work I put into it and see the results.”
Of course, anybody who follows Koepka or his girlfriend Jena Sims on social media already has received an eyeful, with Koepka wearing a thong in a few photos. “I’ve basically given everybody a preview in a thong,” he said, “so … just a little strip of clothing left I had to pull off.”
The photo shoot took place this spring, after some intense two-a-day training in the gym along with a strict, calorie-counting diet. Koepka weighed 187 pounds for the shoot; he’s now about 210 pounds. “I’ve got a great dad bod right now,” he said.
Koepka becomes the fourth male golfer to appear in the Body Issue, which made its debut in 2009. Camilo Villegas appeared in 2010, Gary Player in 2013 and Greg Norman last year. In addition, several female golfers also have appeared.
Some of Koepka’s photos were shot outdoors at the Floridian National Golf Club. Koepka said there were people on the course. Koepka’s coach Claude Harmon also was giving a lesson at the time to a junior player.
“I’ll never forget this one shot,” Koepka said. “They were trying to get this shot, and I’m up on the tee box. They had all their camera stuff set up in front of me, like face-on, but around the corner I see Claude teaching this maybe 12-year-old kid, and his mom is just over here. I’m like, this is awkward. And Claude’s peaking around the corner laughing. …
“I’m pretty sure everybody that was at the golf course saw me that day.”
And now everybody else is about to see him – especially his fellow PGA TOUR pros, including Rickie Fowler, who was once asked to be in the Body Issue but declined the offer.
“I figured there would be some sort of hazing in the locker room afterwards,” he said.
So has he given Koepka any grief?
“I haven’t, no,” Fowler replied. “But he’s bigger than me.”
Rory McIlroy was asked in 2015 to pose. He also declined. “It’s just a little strange,” he said. “… You have to have a bit of confidence to get up there and do it in the first place, so good on him.”
Koepka said he hasn’t received any jabs from his fellow pros. Nor, he added, should they be shocked by anything they see in the photos.
“I’ve walked around naked in the locker room before,” Koepka said.
One pro, however, did manage to share a bit of the spotlight. A photo of a shirtless Phil Mickelson in the ocean was posted on his sister Tina’s Twitter account , showing off the weight loss – and defined abs – for the 49-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer.
“Was there a coincidence that Phil released his pictures at the same time,” cracked fellow pro Paul Casey, who then added, “Has he let that breath out? … Is he a breather?”
Koepka took it all in stride.
“Laid one on me again,” Koepka said of the Mickelson photo. “Leave it to Phil. He’s good at it. He knows what he’s doing. He looked good, though.”
Koepka, Thomas, Schauffele tied for lead at TOUR Championship