The Players: Brooks Koepka on why he has the edge on major fields

Wednesday 13th March 2019 20:45 GMT

The world No 3 successfully defended his US Open title last June before he held off Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship two months later for his third major success.

Koepka, who is the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, went on to win the CJ Cup in October to become the world No 1 for the first time in his career and is in high spirits for this week's The Players.

Asked what impact his form on the biggest stages has offered ahead of next month's Masters, which he missed last year through injury, he said: "Just confidence. I've got a lot more confidence now than I've ever had. That's all it is.

"The majors are, I don't want to say easier, but I feel it kind of is.

"You've got so many guys playing, a couple of them are mentally going to beat themselves up. Just in contention, if it's tough, certain guys are going to throw themselves out, and it really kind of whittles down to a few players.

"Especially by Saturday you can pretty much almost predict who is going to be there come Sunday.

"That's what I love about going to a major. Half the guys you've already beat them by the time you've stepped on the first tee.

"But Augusta, you've got to have some knowledge. I'm excited to get back there. I'm always excited for a major, but it will be nice to go back as an actual major champion for the first time. It will be nice."

Koepka will play alongside 2015 Players champion Rickie Fowler and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth over the opening two rounds at TPC Sawgrass and the 28-year-old admits his motivation has been hurt after some of his success.

"I think sometimes I do expect a little bit more of myself. I'm in a different position," he added.

"I think for for awhile right after the PGA [Championship] it was, okay, well, why have I not won any regular TOUR events. And then figured that out, and then I figured out why I haven't.

"I don't bring the same intensity and I almost expect to win, and I think when you expect to win you're not always going to do that. And then you're looking at failure. And that's sometimes tough to deal with.

"Then all of a sudden you back it off and just go, okay, at the majors I'm accepting of whatever happens, even if I make a double, a bogey, hit a bad shot, it's fine. I can deal with that. Kind of live in the moment.

"Where out here [on the PGA Tour] I'm already thinking of why don't I have a four-shot lead on Friday."

The Players is the flagship event on the PGA Tour and often referred to as the unofficial "fifth major" and Koepka says he is viewing the event as of the highest importance.

"It's an important week. I'm trying to treat it like a major. I'm trying to treat every event like a major," he said.

"Coming down from my routine to how I prepare, not out there grinding all day every day, trying to fine-tune everything. I keep it very simple."

Watch the Players Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live first round coverage begins on Thursday from 11.30pm on Sky Sports' dedicated Players Championship channel.

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