The Brandel Chamblee versus Brooks Koepka sideshow has been simmering for months, and while Chamblee has softened on his questioning of Koepka’s toughness and grit, he took a new look at things heading into Koepka’s PGA Championship defense.
While it’s hard to argue with Koepka’s run of form in major championships over the past few years, winning three of the last seven majors he’s teed it up in, Chamblee is taking a step back in his examination to ponder whether Koepka is a “great player” or simply having a “great run.”
“He three-putted five times at the Masters,” Chamblee said Tuesday on Live From the PGA Championship. “That really was the difference. It’s why in my view he lost the Masters because his touch wasn’t very good. He’s on a heck of a run. Nick Faldo had a similar run. Lee Trevino had a similar run. You try to get your arms around what kind of player Brooks is.
“Is he truly a great player – a staggering talent – or is he in a great run? Tiger and Jack, they won regular events at the same clip they won majors. When you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together, this is very good stuff. I just need more evidence. I need more time. He won three major championships that were more about power than they were about accuracy. This week, it will be equally about power and accuracy. Golf courses like this are a better measure of what type of player we’re going to see.”
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) May 7, 2019
As Chamblee pointed out that Nicklaus and Woods matched their major success with week-in, week-out success on the PGA Tour, Koepka offered a glimpse into why he thinks that major championships are actually easier to win, in his opinion, than regular PGA Tour events.
“There’s 156 in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat,” Koepka said. “You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, some of them just – pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.”
“I think one of the big things that I’ve learned over the last few years is you don’t have to try to go win it. Just hang around. If you hang around, good things are going to happen.
“So I think that’s what’s kind of caused me an issue in the regular PGA Tour events. I’ve gone out on Saturday and tried to build a cushion, maybe pressed a little bit too hard and gotten ahead of myself, where in the majors I just stay in the moment.
“I never think one hole ahead. I’m not thinking about tomorrow. I’m not thinking about the next shot. I’m just thinking about what I’ve got to do right then and there. And I kind of dummy it down and make it very simple, and I think that’s what helps me.”