Brooks Koepka called his latest PGA Championship victory the 'most satisfying' of all of his majors: Find out what else he said after his win
It wasn't the easy stride to victory that many predicited, but Brooks Koepka earned a hard fought victory at the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Koepka had begun the final round with a seven shot lead, but for the first time he can remember carded four bogeys in a row from the 11th and a charge from Dustin Johnson saw his lead cut to just one.
Mistakes over the final few holes from DJ gave Koepka back a little breathing space when he needed it, and the 29-year-old was able to consolidate his record breaking scoring feats of the first few days in to his fourth major championship title in just eight starts.
Find out what Koepka said after successfully defending his PGA Championship title.
On the satisfaction of actually winning despite what happened on the back nine...
Yeah, there's a lot of satisfaction for what happened today. This was, by far, the most stressful. I didn't think Shinnecock was this stressful. I mean, it played so hard today, and these fairways, I don't know, 20, 25 yards wide; I didn't drive it good. Didn't give myself very many chances from the tee, and you do that at Bethpage, you're in for a long day, and I was.
I'm glad I've got this thing sitting next to me. It's very satisfying this one. This is definitely the most satisfying of all the ones I've won.
On how stressful that round was...
It was nice to finish on 18. I'm just glad we didn't have to play anymore, that's for sure.
I felt like I was playing good. I just made mistakes at the wrong time. This golf course, that whole stretch, from 7 to 13, you've got to hit good drives. I put it in the rough. You're going to have a lot of short par looks.
I mean, I challenge anybody to go play this golf course in 15- to 20-mile-an-hour winds and see what they shoot. DJ played a hell of a round. That was pretty good. This golf course, it will test you for sure.
Today was definitely the most satisfying out of all of them for how stressful that round was; how stressful DJ made that. That was probably definitely -- I know for a fact, that was the most excited I've ever been in my life ever there on 18.
On playing with such a big lead and the panic when it starts to get smaller...
I think playing with a lead is a little bit tougher. It's easier in the sense of you know that you can afford mistakes, and you've just got to stay mentally sharp. I think you have to be sharper mentally when you have such a big lead that you still have to set goals. You still have to, okay, I still need to go out and go play, and I felt like I did a good job of that the first ten holes. I don't know if I just mentally slipped for a couple holes or what.
But I think playing with the lead is a different feeling. It is. It's very difficult. You want to extend it. But also, you're not trying to -- you're not trying to come back to the field, so every time you make a bogey, you're kind of thinking, I'm bringing everybody back, I'm bringing everybody back; I keep coming back, why am I doing this, what's going on.
I don't want to say it's a panic, but it's definitely a shock when you make a couple, and like the first hole, you know, I make bogey and Harold makes birdie and all of a sudden it goes to five, and I'm like, whoa, you got yourself a ballgame just after one. Five shots in 17 holes is definitely doable.
On the fans attitude to him and them chanting DJ's name during his bogey run...
It's New York. What do you expect, when you're half-choking it away.
I tell you what, the hour spent from No. 11 to 14 was interesting. When they started chanting, "DJ" on 14, it actually kind of helped, to be honest with you. I think it helped me kind of refocus and hit a good one down 15. I think that was probably the best thing that could have happened. It was very, very stressful, the last hour and a half of that round. That's why I let a big sigh of relief go.
I think I kind of deserved it. You're going to rattle off four in a row and it looks like you're going to lose it; I've been to sporting events in New York. I know how it goes.
Like I said, I think it actually helped. It was at a perfect time because I was just thinking, okay, all right. I've got everybody against me. Let's go. Yeah, I mean, I definitely heard the cheers, too. But the chants on 14 green with DJ was -- I think that's kind of when Ricky probably mentioned -- for that question earlier -- when I was kind of in shock. Kind of all that was going on at the same time.
On whether he was nervous after his four hole bogey run...
I wasn't nervous. I was just in shock, I think. I was in shock of what was kind of going on. On 14, we had 150 yards to the hole, and Harold hit 8 and the wind ate it up, and mine, it just died on me. You know, I made a good swing there, too. I felt like I just got stuck on a bogey train. If you're going to put it in the rough, you're going to have really rely on your putter.
I didn't make one on 11. On 12, didn't have the easiest of par looks. 13 was a bit disappointing, and 14 was just a bit of a shock to go four in a row. I can't tell you the last time I've made four bogeys in a row. I don't know if I ever have -- I'm sure I have. But just had to reset. And like I said, I think everybody chanting, "DJ" kind of helped that.
On watching the leaderboard today...
I've always done it. I feel it's important to kind of know where you're at, know where you stand, especially with a 7-shot lead. You want to know what you have to do coming down. And sometimes, even when it was going sideways, you know, there's still a sense of relief that you have a 1-, 2-shot lead, you can definitely feed off that.
You know, I've earned the right to struggle a little bit. I've played so well, I can afford to struggle a little bit and get it and I'm just one hole closer to being done. That's just how I kept looking at it. All I needed was one solid hole, one birdie I thought coming in would kind of slam the door home.
If there was a time he thought he wouldn't win today?...
It was definitely a test. I never thought about failing. I was trying my butt off. If I would have bogeyed all the way in, you know, I still would have looked at it as I tried my hardest. That's all I can do. Sometimes that's all you've got. You know, even if I would have lost, I guess you could say choked it away. I tried my tail off just to even make par and kind of right the ship.
But I never once thought about it. I always felt like once I had the lead, you know, he's going to make one more birdie and I've got to make a bogey for this thing to kind of switch. I think hitting 15 tee shot down the middle of the fairway definitely kind of helped ease a little bit of the tension, knowing that that pin was kind of in a gettable spot but then hit a terrible wedge shot. I don't know how you miss that slope, but I did.
On how he would describe the run he is on in majors...
Phenomenal. I think that's a good word. Yeah, it's been a hell of a run. It's been fun. I'm trying not to let it stop. It's super enjoyable, and just try to ride that momentum going into Pebble. I think that's -- I mean, 4 of 8, I like the way that sounds.
It's been incredibly quick, I know that. It's been so much fun these last, what is it, two years, it's pretty close to two years. It's incredible. I don't think I even thought I was going to do it that fast. I don't think anybody did, and to be standing here today with four majors, it's mind-blowing.
On his odd record of PGA Tour wins vs majors and if he only gets fired up for majors... (2 vs 4)
I mean, I'm trying. I'm trying my best. We were actually talking about this the other day. I finished second nine times, and every time I feel like I've finished second, I've run into a buzzsaw.
Honda this year, Keith played a fantastic 18th hole. I played solid. Very pleased.
Rod Pampling beat me in Vegas. Played unbelievable. I played great there.
I mean, I've played great a lot of times. I've just finished second so many times. I think that's -- second sucks, but I've played good every time. So I need to take it over to regular Tour events and start winning there, too. There's no reason I can't.
On what Bethpage Black will be like at the Ryder Cup in 2024...
We've actually talked about this a lot during the week. It was -- good luck to Europe with the fans. This is -- I can't wait to play it. I hope I'm on the team. If not, I just want to be here.
It's going to be very special. It's going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait to play it. I'm excited already thinking about it. This is one hell of a place to play Ryder Cup.
On having a manufactured metephorical chip on his shoulder...
There's always a chip. I think every great athlete always has a chip, whether it be somebody saying you can't do something -- it doesn't matter. I feel like you look at Michael Jordan or -- I've heard him talk about having a chip on his shoulder, and I think that's important.
It works for me. Why would I stray from that? It's one of those things that it doesn't need to come from anybody. It can come from me. I can make something up in my own head and tell myself I can't get to 10 or more, and I'm trying to prove myself wrong. It doesn't need to come from the outside. I can do it internally, too.
On going to The Open with a caddie whose home course is Portrush...
I mean, he knows the golf course. I mean, he grew up two minutes from there. So he knows the golf course. He should know where to hit it. I'm excited to get over there. I've never actually been to Ireland. That's one place I've never been, which is shocking, because I've been all over the world. That's one place I've never been, so I'm looking forward to going.
It will be special for him. It will be special for me. I'm sure he's going to have his family, his mom and dad will be out there. I think he's staying with them that week. So it will be -- I think everybody in Ireland has been waiting for this for a long time, so it will be very special.