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Rory McIlroy called it, didn’t he?

When Brooks Koepka threw a pointed barb at Dustin Johnson ahead of the final round of the US PGA Championship, McIlroy said that his fellow four-time major champion had “picked the wrong person” to play mind games with.

“I don’t think DJ really gives much of a concern for that,” said McIlroy after Koepka drew admitted he “liked his chances” of overturning DJ’s 54-hole lead at TPC Harding Park because “he’s only won one [major]”.

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As it turned out, Collin Morikawa lapped both players in that final round to win his first major championship. Johnson finished in a tie for second whilst Koepka posted the second worst round of the day to wind up just inside the top-30.

In the days that followed, a humbled Koepka apologised for some of his comments ahead of the final round – but, tellingly, not the part where he criticised Johnson, fueling rumours of a rift between the one-time pals.

Now, Johnson has had his say.

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After opening with a four-under 67 at The Northern Trust – the first of the FedEx Cup Playoffs – the world No.4 was asked about Koepka’s remarks on the eve of the final round of the US PGA.

And, just as Rory McIlroy predicted, they didn’t make much of an impression on him.

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“It doesn’t matter,” said DJ. “It doesn’t bother me. He can think whatever he wants.”

Johnson added that he is determined to accentuate the positives from his latest major near-miss.

“I played solid. Wasn’t upset with it. Obviously I would have loved to have won, but I played good, finished second, that’s alright.

“Generally with the lead, shooting 68 at a major on Sunday, nine times out of ten you’re going to win. Obviously, Collin played really well.”

Johnson is going in search of his 22nd PGA Tour victory this week. He is one of five players – along with McIlroy, Morikawa and Justin Thomas – who could reach world No.1 this week.

Koepka, meantime, effectively ended his 2019/20 PGA Tour season yesterday when he withdrew injured from The Northern Trust.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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