Brooks Koepka is a jerk. A five-time major championship winning jerk, to be sure, but a jerk nonetheless.
Maybe that’s why I struggle to put the PGA Tour player in the same lofty status as fellow five-time major champions Byron Nelson and Seve Bellesteros (OK, so Seve could be a jerk at times, but he also knew how to be engaging).
Golf is a gentleman’s game, and Koepka too often is anything but one. Sadly, his jerkiness often gets confused for a cool kind of blunt honesty, as if belittling people publicly is something to be admired. He’s a tough guy. I can do it. His toughness is probably what has made him successful on the golf course. I can do it. But Mr. Tough Guy needs to get a clue how to act outside the ropes.
Latest example: Koepka went off on Smash GC teammate Matthew Wolff entering this week’s LIV Golf event outside London, calling out Wolff for “not competing.”
Wolff is coming off a fifth consecutive poor showing, including a WD before the final round of the May event in Washington, DC, where he was 46th out of 48 players after 36 holes.
Koepka, who is captain of Smash GC, ranted about Wolff to Sports Illustrated.
“I mean, when you quit on your round, you give up and stuff like that, that’s not competing,” Koepka said. “I’m not a big fan of that. You don’t work hard. It’s very tough. It’s very tough to have even like a team dynamic when you’ve got one guy that won’t work, one guy is not going to give any effort, he’s going to quit on the course, break clubs, gets down, bad body language , it’s very tough. I’ve basically given up on him – a lot of talent, but I mean the talent’s wasted.”
Tell us what you really think, Brooksie.
Make no mistake, as captain Koepka has a responsibility to hold team members accountable, so it’s hard to fault him for taking Wolff to task. The problem was eviscerating his teammate in the media instead of pulling him aside in the locker room and sharing his criticism privately.
I can already hear Koepka defenders screaming, “What if he already tried that and it didn’t work?” Well, try again. And again. And if things don’t change, let Wolff know he won’t be part of the team next year. It’s called leadership. It’s also called being sensitive to the situation. Wolff struggles with mental health.
It would be easier to extend Koepka some grace – as in golf is an individual sport so maybe he is still learning how to navigate his captaincy – if he did not make it a habit of casually taking shots at other competitors, most notably Bryson DeChambeau ( who probably deserved it, but be more discreet about it).
There is a difference between being genuine and being a jerk. Koepka still has some work to do, but something tells me he doesn’t think so.
Keep your hands to yourself, Britney Spears
I was partly amused, partly horrified by the security shenanigans that played out in Las Vegas Wednesday night when No. 1 NBA draft pick Victor Wembanyama found himself caught in a he-said, she-said controversy with singer Britney Spears.
Wembanyama was walking with his security detail into a restaurant at a Vegas casino when he said he felt someone grab him from behind.
“That person was calling me, ‘Sir, sir,’ and that person grabbed me from behind,” the 7-foot-3 San Antonio Spurs center said. “I just know the security pushed her away.”
Spears disputed Wembanyama’s account, saying on Instagram she “simply tapped him on the shoulder” and that his security, “back handed me in the face without looking back, in front of a crowd. Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses to come off my face.”
A couple of things: What world do we live in when a 19-year-old still unproven athlete requires a security detail? And, to answer that question, “fans” need to keep their hands off athletes. Spears is a celebrity in her own right. She should know better.
“It’s amazing how people can turn a blind eye to murder and pretend it’s about team golf so they can continue to get paid.” – Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee on Twitter, reacting to LIV golfer Brandon Grace’s comment that LIV has “14 majors out here now.”
I Facetime with my 94-year-old mother almost every night. I don’t think that’s weird. I think this is weird:
A 25-year-old Houston man, who allegedly disappeared eight years ago, was never really missing and has been living with his mother almost this whole time, authorities say.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Brooks Koepka rips LIV Golf teammate Matthew Wolff for quitting on job