Not Happy, Jan: Koepka rips PGA over crowd control
While full of praise for Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka was highly critical of crowd control measures at the final hole of the 103rd PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
PGA Championship organisers allowed 10,000 fans a day to attend the championship and the majority seemed to flood onto the final fairway in scenes reminiscent of Tiger Woods 2018 Tour Championship triumph in suburban Atlanta.
Brooks Koepka (Credit: PGA Tour)
And while Mickelson spoke afterwards saying … “It was a little bit unnerving but it was exceptionally awesome, too” … that’s not how Koepka felt and going as far as to suggest some fans were deliberate in their actions of intentionally bumping up against his still-recovering right knee.
“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s**t, personally,” Koepka said in posting a closing round 74 to share second place two shots adrift of Mickelson.
“I was trying to protect my knee. I don’t think anybody really understands until you actually you’re coming out of surgery how — I mean, even when I was doing rehab and there’s five people kind of standing by your knee, you get a little skittish.”
“I don’t mind waiting or being in that crowd but getting my — I don’t know, it felt like somebody tried to, I don’t know what the deal was, but it is, what it is. Be putting it in ice today. It feels like s— right now,” said a clearly frustrated Koepka.
Koepka will get over the physical of his knee being ‘dinged’ but the big question now is, will the 30-year old get over the mental anguish?
Many believed Koepka would brush the ageing Mickelson aside to capture a third PGA Championship and his fifth major, and that seemed to be the scenario when there was a two-shot swing at the first, which Mickelson bogeyed and Koepka birdied.
Though Mickelson was not to be denied and with the overwhelming weight of the crowd on his side, the soon-to-be 51-year-old strode triumphantly up the last albeit having to also fight his way onto the final green.
For Koepka, it was a second bridesmaid role in the majors and a 10th top-10, excluding his pair of US Open and also two PGA Championship titles.
“I’m super disappointed, pretty bummed,” he said.
“I’m not happy. I don’t know if there’s a right word I can say here without getting fined, but it hurts a little bit. It’s one of those things where I just never felt comfortable over the putts. I don’t know why, what happened.”
It is the second year running at the PGA Championship where Koepka has let slip victory.
A year ago, he entered the final round at Harding Park two shots off the lead and finished with the second-highest score of the day (74) that dropped him into a tie for 29th.
This year, his undoing began on the second hole when he had to lay-up out of the bunker and then needed two shots to get out of the rough. But it got worse during a seven-hole stretch starting at the par-5 seventh hole when he hit one of the six fairways and made four bogeys.
And we remember two years ago when Koepka paused play at least once on his back nine of the Masters to take a peek at Tiger Woods, as Tiger was completing his stunning victory.
Koepka finished tied for second on that day, too.
The four-time major champion will take a few weeks off before warming up for the US Open in mid-June.