Los Angeles - Brooks Koepka puts the finishing touches on his PGA Championship
preparations on Thursday when he tees off in the Byron Nelson Championship
with one eye on next week's second major of 2019.
Koepka, who will defend his PGA Championship crown at Bethpage Black,
has not played an event since a second place finish behind Tiger Woods
at last month's Masters in Augusta.
While many of golf's elite are taking this week off, Koepka is using
the tournament at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Texas to fine-tune
his game after nearly a month off.
The 29-year-old said he is not bothered by his performance this week,
but will be looking for signs that the fundamentals of his game are in
working order ahead of the PGA Championship.
"You don't need to play that great," Koepka said. "I try to get some
rhythm. I like building a little bit of rhythm, finding your game,
figuring out how to score, to manage your game. It's just something that
has always worked for me.
"I'm not so concerned with the little things, you know, like making
bogey from a hundred yards or maybe not getting up and down, going for
par-5s, not getting up and down. Mainly just how am I hitting it?"
World number three Koepka will tee off in Texas as a heavy favourite,
with the next highest ranked player in the field Patrick Reed, the
world number 19, and Marc Leishman, ranked 22.
Koepka meanwhile said he had few regrets about his Augusta near-miss, blaming mistakes on the final round for his loss.
"I thought I played reasonably well. I was pretty happy with how I
played. But obviously I made a lot of mistakes. I made two
double-bogeys. It's tough to win if you're going to do that, especially
at Augusta," he said.
"Second place isn't much fun but you move on. I think Tiger made it look closer than it actually was with the final score."
Koepka added that Woods' return to championship-winning form after
missing most of 2016 and 2017 with injury had been welcomed across the
"I think everybody in my generation, my age grew up watching him.
That's pretty much the whole reason we're all playing. Everybody that's
probably 30, 32 and younger, that's all we did was watch him and it was
exciting," Koepka said. "I would say 99 percent of the people that show
up when he's playing are there to see him. So, it's been good for the
sport. It's good to see him back playing well. It's good for everybody."