Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee made headlines, as he so often does, on the eve of the Masters when he delivered his monologue on why Brooks Koepka, winner of three of the last seven major championships, recklessly self-sabotaged himself in the offseason.
Koepka responded in kind on the course, shooting a bogey-free 6-under par 66 to co-lead the first major championship of the season on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club.
You would think that a performance like that would seemingly have the outspoken Texan eating his words, right? Wrong.
On Thursday evening, Chamblee doubled down on his skepticism of Koepka, despite the show Koepka put on just minutes earlier.
“His talent is undeniable,” Chamblee said. “But I’ve heard people say this. You extrapolate from accomplishment, you infer qualities from a human being like, ‘He’s really tough.’ Maybe he is, I don’t know. I got to say, I still need to be convinced.”
No sooner had those words left his mouth than host Rich Lerner leaned up in his chair and questioned Chamblee.
“You still need to be convinced that he’s tough? Hold on for a sec. The 16th hole at Bellerive. You can’t get any tougher than that. With everybody screaming and hollering for Tiger Woods. And he striped a 4-iron some 240 yards to make a 2. How much more evidence do you need?”
Chamblee responded an argument that relied upon Koepka’s length being disproportionately rewarded on the major venues at which he’s won.
“Power is the least variable asset,” he said. “So because it’s the least variable asset, if a course rewards power disproportionately, there is not volatility. There has to be a penalty for an errant tee shot.”
At that point, the other two men on the dais, Frank Nobilo and David Duval, had become indignant.
“I’m not sure what more you want him to do,” Duval said.
As for Koepka, we likely won’t know what he truly thinks about Chamblee’s comments or how they motivated him — if at all — until he’s holding another major trophy or draped in a jacket of green on Sunday night, but given his rabbit ears in the past, it’s very unlikely he didn’t hear what Chamblee said.
“Well, I lift all the time. I lift too many weights, and I’m too big to play golf,” Koepka said on Thursday evening when asked veiledly about his critics, a.k.a Chamblee. “And then when I lose weight, I’m too small. So, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. I’m too big and I’m too small.
“Listen, I’m going to make me happy. I don’t care what anybody else says. I’m doing it for me, and obviously, it seems to work.”