Maybe it is the lure of the greenbacks that has Brooks Koepka teeing up in this week’s Abu Dhabi Championship – now elevated to a Rolex Series event – but the American, who has the chance to leapfrog back over Justin Rose into the world number one position, does not intend to take up his European Tour membership again. At least not in the foreseeable future.
Koepka – who successfully defended his US Open title and also claimed the US Open championship last season – cut his teeth as a fledgling professional in Europe, firstly on the Challenge Tour and then on the main circuit, but has ruled out any return.
“It’s obviously very tough, especially with the (PGA Tour) schedule now, being so compact… I don’t feel like I can play my best all year long coming over (to play the European Tour) and going back to the PGA Tour and flip-flopping on both. I learned that my first year. It’s a lot of travel, a lot of hours. I don’t know a sport where there’s more hours travelling time zones. You end up getting lost a little bit, don’t really know where you are at times. It’s very difficult.”
Koepka was the standout player in the Majors last year, despite missing the Masters due to a wrist injury, yet claims that he failed to meet all of his set targets. “(This year) I want to make sure I make all the cuts. I missed a cut (last season). I didn’t finish top-10 half the time. I wasn’t healthy. That’s a big one. (But) then, obviously to win a major and win multiple times on tour, I knocked those off.”
Providing an insight into his thinking ahead of the Abu Dhabi tournament – the first of a Middle East swing that also takes in next week’s Dubai Desert Classic and the following week’s inaugural Saudi Arabia tournament – Koepka added of the type of goals he sets: “Little things, like going to bed at 10 o’clock every night on the road. Working out five days a week on the road, minimum. It’s not always on the golf course. I’ve got to separate it. Goals on the road and then the golf goals.”