by Fatiha Betscher, Bahamas
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka has 15 good reasons to be naturally excited heading into the New Year.
After five-years without an equipment contract, Koepka recently signed a multiyear, multi-million deal with Cleveland/Srixon to play the company’s clubs and ball, with several other changes to the bag.
As was reported in the official Cleveland/Srixon statement, the American joins the likes of the Irish duo of Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell as well as Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama as a Srixon and Cleveland Golf Tour Staff member.
However, Koepka spoke in more detail of the move in equipment at this week’s Hero World Challenge here in the Bahamas and how the now 31-year-old is looking forward to what will be a 10th year in the pro ranks.
“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to the New Year, especially with the equipment changes I’ve made, I’m very, very happy, very pleased, Srixon with the ball,” he said.
“It’s been very easy, which is a good thing. Just need to start swinging it well. I’m pretty close, not all the way there, but it’s very, very close.
“Healthwise I also feel good, I feel fine. A little bit of proprioception, like trying to figure out how much your knee’s bending. My stance got so wide just for the fact trying to make sure I’m probably not — when I came back, I’ve got a little stronger base and don’t have to push off as much, but now the knee’s fine. It’s just going back and trying to find out — make sure everything’s, you know, the simple stuff like posture, grip, the way we set up to it, all those things are the same as what they’ve been and that’s — I’m very happy with the direction we’re going”.
Koepka has won 15 times around the world with eight of those victories on the PGA Tour, including this year’s Phoenix Open, though at No. 16 in the world rankings it’s been a slow slide from No. 1 in the world when he finished T17th at last year’s Saudi Invitational.
“I’m trying to find it, man”, he said. “It’s been one of those things the last, I don’t know, it feels like the last two years have been a struggle except for the majors or WGCs. I think four top-20s in the last two years that are outside of WGCs, it’s not been very good. Just trying to figure it out.
“I think obviously there’s been some unfortunate things that have happened to me and it’s — just got to grind through it. I’m finding ways just to get through it and figure out my golf swing again and just get out and go play.
“Sometimes when you don’t have it, it feels like you’re never going to get it again, but just got to keep going, keep fighting and figure it out. But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s kind of why I’m playing, just trying to get reps. I had enough time off in March and April and all the other months I missed, so I’ll be alright”.
Meantime – Koepka has his brother Chase on the bag this week as regular caddy Castlerock’s Ricky Elliott is at home visiting his parents
“Chase’s good, he’s good. I mean, he knows what he’s doing, so it will be alright,” said Koepka.
“Ricky kind of knows what I’m doing before I even do it, but Chase is a hell of a player anyway. He knows pretty much what the wind’s playing. It would be like if he was playing, just probably a little different clubs.
“I think Ricky’s back home in Orlando, but he’s going to go back home and see his folks in Northern Ireland.”