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There are not many things in golf – or any sport, really – quite like a Brooks Koepka interview.

You never really know which version of the five-time major champion is going to show up. It didn’t take long to find out at The Open.

One of the more enjoyable aspects Koepka brings to his pre-tournament press conferences is that he would clearly rather be anywhere else.

And the Eyeroll-ometer – patent pending – was at risk of blowing a gasket as he prepares for a ninth tilt at the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool.

How are preparations? “Good. Saw a bit of the golf course yesterday.”

Thoughts on the course? “Pretty much exactly how I remember it.”

Up for the challenge? “It’ll be a good test this week.”

You get the drift.

Naturally, his love of brown sauce – “It’s pretty good, I just had some” – and his thoughts about buying Manchester United – “It’s a bit out my price range” – are next before the LIV questions roll in. They once again focus on his relationship with the players that chose not to make the jump.

“I’ve always been friends with all those guys,” he says with the tone of someone who has already answered this question a thousand times. “I don’t know of anybody that’s extremely mad at me – unless they’re saying it behind my back. Rory and I have had a few good talks over the past year.

“We still practice together and talked about a bunch of different things about life off the golf course, and he’s told me some stuff that’s gone on with him. I really appreciate that he’s opened up.

“Just because there’s a divide with LIV and the PGA Tour that the players are actually divided.”

Koepka is equally dismissive of his role in the merger talks, saying he will “just let it play out”.

“Why am I going to worry about something I can’t control? I hear the news, maybe not everything is true, but there’s a lot of different scenarios and what-ifs.

“I figured it was going to happen – I just didn’t think it was going to happen this soon. But it doesn’t really matter until everything is definite.”

As for Greg Norman: “I think he’s done fine. It’s all perspective, right?” Read into that what you will.

But Koepka suddenly lights up when asked about his impending fatherhood.

“It’ll be fun,” he says with a huge smile. “I’m excited for it. It’s been an interesting few months just prepping for it all.

“Golf is probably going to take a backseat. My family will take priority. I’ve got to manage my time a little differently, which will be interesting.”

Koepka adds that his wife, Jena, and Kristin McDowell “are doing all the prep”.

“I’m just enjoying working for a month straight – that’s typical, right?” he jokes. “But there are bits of me that are really nervous. There’s another human being that’s going to rely completely on me and Jena.”

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Now he’s warmed up, shall we talk about golf?

Koepka, who made his name on the Challenge and European Tours, has a good record at The Open, with four top-10 finishes in eight appearances.

“What helps me the most is my creativity and seeing different shots,” he explains. “I enjoy showing off a little bit of a stinger or whatever.

“I came over here with my mom and my brother when I was pretty young, played St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and North Berwick. I just loved it. You can hit 10 different shots, you can hit lob wedge, you can hit it from 80 yards, you can bump-and-run it with some kind of three-wood or a six-iron.”

Looking ahead, Koepka is currently third in the Team USA Ryder Cup standings – and this week is his last chance to put points on the board.

Koepka played with captain Zach Johnson in a practice round at Hoylake on Monday – as well as the Australian duo of Adam Scott and Cam Smith – though that was purely by chance. “I walked on the first tee right behind Scottie,” he explains. “He didn’t have a tee time, neither did I, neither did Zach, and neither did Cam. There was a good little wait, so we all played.”

As is so often the case, he’s not giving anything away. “It was fun,” he says. “We got to talk about it a little bit – what’s going on, how the team is shaping up.

“It’s interesting hearing his perspective and all the stuff he’s got to do and talking about the preparation, what our team is going to do, where are we going to be, and just a little bit more about behind the scenes stats and stuff like that. It’s interesting just hearing about it all.”

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Away from the mild petulance, Koepka clearly cares about this game, and he cares about his place in it. Anyone who watched his episode of the Netflix documentary Full Swing will know that. Even the mere suggestion that he is in the “second stage” of his career sparks a reaction.

“I’m 33,” he says. “I’m right in the middle of my prime.

“I told my team even when I was hurt that I was going to give it at least five to seven years of just real hard work and see where everything panned out.

“It was frustrating at times and wasn’t fun to just wake up and have to grind, but I enjoyed the work that’s gone into all this and it’s made it a lot sweeter.

“My perspective on how to go about it has definitely changed.”

Finally, Koepka is asked how he would assess his game going into the final major of the year.

“I still feel pretty disciplined,” he explains, “I’ve been practising quite a bit. It’s a major, so I probably should be up for it.”

Hopefully more “up for it” than he is these press conferences.

• Listen to the Bunkered Podcast’s daily Open Commutes


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

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