The PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open was cancelled for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months ago, the PGA Tour announced they would hold a tournament in place of the Canadian open and that for the third time in less than three months South Carolina would host the tournament. The site they picked was Congaree in Ridgeland SC.
With the US Open looming next week many of the top players on the PGA tour have opted out of playing. That is not to say there aren’t some pretty big names in the field in particular South Carolina’s own world number one Dustin Johnson, as well as four-time major winner Brooks Koepka.
It may seem an odd choice for Koepka to play a week before the US Open at a course on the other side of the country with not a lot of similarities to what he will see at Torrey Pines, but for him the answer is pretty simple. Coming back from a knee injury Koepka has missed a lot of events and is wanting to make up for lost time.
“I like playing before the US Open and I just really need the reps,” said Koepka. “I played good at Kiawah but putted a little iffy. My knee feels great, probably netter than ever. The knee is months and months ahead of schedule and I’ve just been able to start doing pilates so things are going great.”
“It’s in great shape and it’s a fun golf course to play,” said Koepka. “Everyone is really just playing it for the first time and trying to figure it out. If you miss the greens here, you could be 50 or 60 yards away from the hole with an interesting chip.”
Koepka not only finished runner up to Phil Mickelson recently at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, but he has also grabbed headlines for an ongoing feud with Bryson DeChambeau.
Social media exploded after the PGA Championship not just because Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner, but because of an eye roll and a couple comments caught in a leaked interview with the Golf Channel. The clip showed Koepka’s obvious annoyance to DeChambeau for talking loudly and walking behind him during his interview.
“I really think it is good for the game,” said Koepka. “The fact that golf is on every news outlet for about two weeks pretty consistently I think that is a good thing and it is growing the game. I get the traditionalists who don’t agree with it, I understand, but I think to grow the game you have to reach out to the younger generation, and this is getting golf in front of people.”
Last week at the Memorial DeChambeau felt the wrath of some of Koepka’s fans who chanted Brooks name to him during the tournament and some were escorted off the premises for their actions. Koepka later posted on social media that he and his sponsor Michelob Ultra were giving away beer to fans who may have been booted from the event.
With the ongoing saga not going away Koepka was asked if he had heard from the PGA Tour about what has been happening. He said he hadn’t in regard to the ongoing feud but on Wednesday PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan was seen speaking to Koepka the entire 16th hole, and for most of the 17th hole as well.
Koepka also made headlines for comments he made after Mickelson’s historic with at the PGA Championship. Paired in the final group with Mickelson and walking down the 18th fairway fans began swarming behind the duo and actually surrounded them after they hit their approach shots. Koepka commented that he got bumped and feared injuring his recently repaired knee due to lack of crowd control on the last hole.
“Once I hit my second shot people were already in front of me and we had to walk through them,” said Koepka. “We only had one cop with us, and It would have been nice to have a little bit more out there. It was a pretty cool scene like with Tiger and Rory and East Lake. It just would have been nice to have been in front of the people. Other than that, it was pretty cool to be a part of see the fans all out there as long as we have been without them.”
Aside from all the things happening off the golf course Koepka is pleased with his progress on the course and likes his chances both this week and next week at the US Open.
“I’m playing good, and I like the way everything is going,” Koepka said. “My body continues to improve, and I am able to do things on the golf course I haven’t been able to do from Augusta to the PGA. I am very pleased, and I like my chances.
Koepka tees off Thursday at 12:59 p.m. and is paired with Keith Mitchell and Lucas Glover. Tickets are still available for the tournament and can be purchased at pgatour.com