Brooks Koepka confidently brushed off criticism of his weight loss after delivering another major statement by claiming a share of the first-round lead at the Masters.
Koepka – a winner in three of his last six major championship appearances – carded a bogey-free 66 at Augusta, with five back-nine birdies lifting him to six under alongside fellow American Bryson DeChambeau.
Since he retained the U.S. Open and won the US PGA Championship in 2018, Koepka has slimmed down considerably, prompting stinging criticism from pundit Brandel Chamblee on the eve of this week’s tournament.
Chamblee accused Koepka of “reckless self-sabotage” in an appearance on the Golf Channel, but the 28-year-old provided the perfect riposte with his superb display on Thursday.
Asked about the comments regarding his weight, Koepka said in a news conference: “When I lift all the time, I lift too many weights and I’m too big to play golf. And then when I lose weight, I’m too small, so I don’t know what to say. I’m too big and then 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.
“I knew I was going to be ready for this week.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 11, 2019
Koepka felt his opening-day performance at Augusta represented “probably the best ball-striking round I’ve had in a major”, no mean feat for a player who has enjoyed such success at the highest level over the past two years.
He added: “I just enjoy the big stage; I enjoy major championships – that’s what you’re remembered by.”
Reflecting on his streak of four successive birdies from the 12th, Koepka said: “You’re not thinking about anything. You’re not thinking about missing. You’re not thinking about the trouble. To be honest with you, I’m not even really thinking about it going in. My mind goes blank.
“You make it kind of a reaction sport. You see the ball, you kind of see your shot, and then whatever you see, and just pull the trigger and go.”
Having been in the final group on Thursday, Koepka will begin his second round alongside Jordan Spieth and Paul Casey at 11:04am local time on Friday.