(Reuters) – Brooks Koepka does not sound too concerned about whether he wins the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson tournament this week as long as leaves the Big D for the Big Apple with his game in good shape.
FILE PHOTO: Apr 28, 2019; Avondale, LA, USA; Brooks Koepka walks to the 9th hole tee box during the final round of the Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Koepka is the best player in a relatively thin field at the PGA Tour event at Trinity Forest Golf Course in Dallas starting on Thursday.
Most of the big boys are taking the week off to tune-up at home before heading to New York next week for the PGA Championship.
But world number three Koepka, who will defend his title at Bethpage Black on Long Island, prefers to play his way into major championships.
“I usually play the week before a major. It’s worked for me,” the 29-year-old American told reporters on Tuesday.
“You don’t need to play that great. I like building a little bit of rhythm, finding my game, figuring out how to score, how to manage my game.”
Koepka has had the Wanamaker Trophy in his possession for only nine months since holding off Tiger Woods and Adam Scott to win the PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis last August.
It was the final time the event would be played in the heat of summer before moving to the May date that makes it the second major championship of the year instead of the last.
The Masters was held in April, while the U.S. Open will be played in June and the British Open in July.
Koepka came close to making it three major wins in four starts when he finished only a stroke behind Woods at the Masters, despite a double-bogey at the par-three 12th at Augusta National in the final round.
Even with that near-miss, he still has three major titles to his name — the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens as well as last year’s PGA.
Another prominent player at the Byron Nelson this week is three-times major champion Jordan Spieth, a local hero who lately has fallen on lean times.
A tie for 21st at the Masters was his best result of the year and Spieth has slipped to 39th in the world, his lowest ranking since he burst onto the tour in 2013.
As popular as Spieth is in his home city, perhaps the biggest gallery this week will flock to watch Tony Romo, the retired former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who remains a beloved figure in north Texas.
Never mind that he is a 10,000-1 shot to take the title.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina