Home PGA Tour Brooks Koepka Mental Approach for the Travelers Championship

Brooks Koepka Mental Approach for the Travelers Championship

Brooks Koepka hits a shot out of the rough at the 2019 US open. Travelers Championship preview 2019

CROMWELL, Conn. – While newly-minted U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland whirled through New York City on a media tour this week, Brooks Koepka and several other big-name golfers made their way to the Hartford area.

Traveler Championship Preview

The PGA Tour’s lone stop in New England this year, the Travelers Championship starts Thursday and features Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jason Day and defending champion Bubba Watson.

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Koepka, who finished second to Woodland last weekend at Pebble Beach, flew across the country on Monday and didn’t touch a club on Tuesday. Instead, he allowed himself to recover from the emotional and mental strain of chasing a third consecutive U.S. Open, while heavy rain fell across the area.

TPC River Highlands

On Wednesday, after playing in a pro-am, Koepka said he was happy to be back at TPC River Highlands, a course that is fun to play and lined by great fans.

Koepka, 29, also talked about his philosophy of being process oriented and focusing on things he can control instead of being results oriented and fixating on the wins and losses.

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“Last week it was about the process, how do I start it on line and finish it on line, and then make a putt,” the four-time major winner said. “I know sometimes it doesn’t happen. I can’t control the result. I wouldn’t tee it up if I didn’t want to win, but not everything is results-based.”

Koepka’s Approach to Golf

Koepka’s approach is a stark contrast to the attitude Tiger Woods extolled in 1996. As his professional career began, Woods famously told Curtis Strange in a television interview that “Second place sucks, and third is even worse.”

With his massive arms folded comfortably on a table and a bottle of water on his left, Koepka said, “I told my caddie (Ricky Elliott) today, we’re going to try to take the mental approach that we have in the majors this week. So I’m going to try something a little bit different. We’ll see how it works out.”

Soft Conditions Expected at TPC River Highlands

More than 2 inches of rain fell on TPC River Highlands on Tuesday, which should mean the course will be soft and scoring conditions on Thursday will be good. Koepka will draw a big gallery when he tees off at 7:45 a.m. ET with Tony Finau and three-time Travelers champion Watson.

“The golf course is in perfect shape,” Watson said near the 18th green. Then, with a smile he added, “I’m looking forward to it and the pairing I got, learning from the young guys and watching them play some good golf.”

Phil Returns to the Travelers Championship

Having turned 49 Sunday during the final round of the U.S. Open, Mickelson is no longer young by PGA Tour standards.

The five-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member will be another crowd favorite this week as he returns to the Travelers Championship for the first time since 2003.

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“This has always been one of the largest, most supported tournaments we have,” Mickelson said. The 2001 and 2002 Travelers champion said that because he had been playing at least one or two tournaments leading up to the majors in previous years, he had not been able to come back to TPC River Highlands.

This year, having taken the week off before the U.S. Open, he was energized enough to add the Travelers to his schedule.

“I’m looking forward to having a good tournament, but also it’s fun for me to be back here,” he said.

Other Notables in the Field

If Koepka, ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, represents the present and Mickelson represents the past, the future is also making an appearance at this year’s Travelers Championship.

Viktor Hovland, the low amateur in the Masters and the U.S. Open, has turned pro and has been given a sponsor exemption into the event. But the All-American from Oklahoma State is not alone.

His former teammate, Matthew Wolff, the winner of the 2019 NCAA Division I men’s individual championship, has also turned pro and been given a sponsor exemption into the field.

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