Brooks Koepka made the case that driving would be vital this week at the PGA Championship, where TPC Harding Park’s thick, wet rough and cool, damp conditions place a premium on accurate power.
“If you put the ball in the fairway out here, you’re going to do — there’s a lot of long irons into these par 4s, and like today, I think I hit — played nine holes and hit three long irons in the back nine in the flags and obviously it’s a little cooler, a little windy,” Koepka said in his pre-tournament press conference. “But still at the same time in you’re in that rough, there’s no chance you’re hitting 4- or 5-iron into these greens. You have to drive it well and put it into the fairway.”
So Koepka, who came into the week ranked 19th in strokes gained off the tee and 18th in distance but 185thin driving accuracy, made a switch back to the driver he used to win last year’s PGA Championship.
Koepka, who had been playing Callaway’s Mavrik Sub Zero throughout this season, put last year’s TaylorMade M5 back in the bag for the first round of the PGA Championship. Koepka has used TaylorMade drivers in all four of his major championship victories.
Last year, Koepka ranked 21st in strokes gained off the tee, 10th in driving distance and 102nd in driving accuracy. At last year’s PGA Championship, played at a similarly setup, thick rough Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York, Koepka finished the week 2nd in strokes gained off the tee, 10th in driving distance and 44th in driving accuracy.