Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

It wouldn’t be the Masters without a Rules of Golf drama.

Arnold Palmer’s embedded ball battle, Roberto De Vicenzo’s “what a stupid I am” brain fog, Tianlang Guan’s slow play situation, Tiger Woods’ drop heard round the world. And last year it looked like Brooks Koepka would have his own chapter in Augusta’s unwanted record books.

Following the first round 12 months ago, Koepka’s two-shot lead was under threat after it was alleged the American’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, had told Brennan Little, his jumpsuit-clad counterpart on Gary Woodland’s bag, which club his boss had hit into the par-five 15th – a violation of Rule 10-2a, which says, among other things, that “a player must not give advice to anyone in the competition”.

That evening, an Augusta committee ruled no breach was made and, as such, a two-shot penalty was avoided. Koepka went into the final round leading Jon Rahm by the same margin, before a Sunday 75 killed off any hopes of edging out his Spanish rival for the Green Jacket.

• Jon Rahm struggles with regret as LIV fallout taints Masters defence

• Tiger Woods might disagree but he’s more ceremonial than contender

Fast forward to this year and it was inevitable the 33-year-old would be asked about the moment that divided a sport already at loggerheads.

Koepka, though, takes these things in his stride. He doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t fluster, and, every now and then, throws out a tiny nugget to feed the hungry masses of headline writers.

“I mean, everybody’s exchanging information all day long,” he said. “Looking in guys’ bags, caddies are signalling all day long.

“But who knew? I think I was just foreshadowing what was going to happen.”

This year, Koepka will tee up in the opening rounds alongside Open champion Brian Harman and Tom Kim as he looks to add a Green Jacket to his major collection which now stands at five after he responded to his Masters disappointment with a third PGA Championship triumph.

But it’s just another day at the office for the man who struggles to hide the fact he only really cares about four tournaments a year.

“If you can’t get up for the biggest events,” he said, “I think there’s something wrong with you.

“It’s what I always dreamed of when I was a kid. When I was practising at my dad’s course when I was younger it was always to win a major championship.

“Even today, that’s what I first see, that’s what I think you’re judged by, your legacy, what you’re defined by. I can tell you exactly how many Jack, Tiger, Arnold, Tom, all these guys, how many majors they won. It’s tough to tell how many events they won, but I know that there’s one sure-fire way to figure out who is who is by major championships.”

• Ranking the Masters field from 89 to 1

• 24 hours in search of the real Rory McIlroy

So, after two runner-up finishes here, can he finally unlock Augusta?

“I’ve still got the same game plan,” he confirmed. “I feel like I’ve played this place enough. It’s all about angles, certain pin locations being in a certain spot. Occasionally they throw in a new pin location, but usually they’re pretty similar to where they have been over the last few years.”

Before signing off, Koepka treated us to another classic interview moment when asked if a 59 is obtainable around this corner of Georgia.

“Off the members tees and maybe play like 15 holes, yeah, I could do that,” he deadpanned.

And with that, Koepka’s ninth tilt at the Green Jacket is underway.

Hear more of our thoughts in our Masters daily commute episodes of The bunkered Podcast from Augusta.

author headshot

Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses