No matter who you are, your first visit to The Masters is special. For Brooks Koepka, however, it’s tainted by a rather surprising disappointment.
The three-time major champion was brought to Augusta National 20 years ago when he was just nine-years-old.
Like most kids, he turned up with his autograph book in tow and, whilst he managed to get most players’ signatures, he vividly recalls one guy turning him down.
And it’s the last guy you’d ever expect.
“I tried to get Phil Mickelson’s autograph,” he recalled. “I was standing by the old range, and somehow found my way kind of right by the parking lot or something like that and asked him for an autograph and he said no. He turned me down.”
Mickelson is well known for spending long stints signing autographs for kids after his rounds, so this revelation is somewhat of a shock.
“I’m probably about the only kid Phil's ever turned down,” added Koepka. “He doesn't remember it. I mean, I can't believe he doesn't remember the first time he ever said no to signing an autograph for a kid.
“I told him, I think in 2014, we were playing a practice round at the Open. I had to tell him. I was like, ‘Listen, man, you stiffed me, and I really didn't like you for a long time.’ But he was typical Phil, right back at me and said I shouldn't have been there. We can laugh about it now. I've got his autograph now.”