Koepka-Holmes Pairing

Shut up and play faster.

Jim Rome
July 22, 2019 - 12:16 pm
Brooks Koepka

USA Today


While Shane Lowry was having an awesome day, some of the other guys making their way around Portrush were not. Like Henrik Stenson, who started the day at 6-under, but then went out and shot a 76. And while you have to hit a lot of bad shots to write down a 76, there were none worse than this approach on 17.

Shank! Shank!

I love that you aren’t supposed to say that word and they’re practically screaming it in the announcer’s booth. And they should. Because that was a shank. No other word for it. Forget not saying it, they needed to sound the shank alarm.

In fact, they needed to invent a shank alarm, with bells and whistles, and lights, just to get everyone’s attention to that monstrosity. And Stenson knew it.

That’s why he was yelling the moment the ball left his club. And why that shank was the last shot that club ever made, because he snapped his over his leg seconds later. I’m not even sure if that ball had landed before Stenson snapped the iron like a twig.

And if you thought Stenson was the only one having a rough day, you were wrong.

Because the question is: who had a worse day – JB Holmes or Brooks Koepka, who was playing with JB Holmes.

JB Holmes shot an 87. Koepka looked like he was going to shoot Holmes.

As soon as that pairing was locked in, everyone knew it was going to be a problem. And it was. A BIG problem. Because Holmes is one of the slowest players on tour and Koepka is one of the fastest.

And then Holmes went out of bounds off the first tee. And it was on. And by on, I mean one of the all-time worst rounds by a guy with a chance to win a major.

Out in 41, back in 46. 16 over par, giving him a four round run that looks like this: 66, 68, 69, 87.

It’s like some amateur snuck out there in a JB Holmes disguise and started playing for him. And I’m guessing that Koepka would’ve been happier if some rando from the gallery was his playing partner instead of Holmes, because JB’s pace was killing Koepka.

Before I continue, let me make something clear: Koepka is not blaming Holmes for the fact that he never got rolling and didn’t dominate the way we’ve come to expect Koepka to dominate on a Sunday in a major.

“If you don’t play good you’re not going to win. So, it’s very simple. It’s disappointing, yes. I didn’t play the way I wanted to. And I’ve got to live with that.”

And, thanks to Holmes and JB’s rather deliberate pace of play, Koepka had a lot of time to live with that.

Brooks started with a very un-Brooks four straight bogeys, but then had an eagle on five. Maybe that could get him some momentum. But then came an iconic moment where Holmes is starting to plum-bob a putt and Koepka covers his face and walks off the green.

It was at that point that I thought we might see our first on-course murder. Although he stayed in his shoes after the round, you could tell he was a volcano during the round. And who can blame him?

You never want to play with a guy who’s slow, but even worse is a guy who’s slow and shooting 16 over par. At some point, you have to be like - hey, JB, the methodical thing ain’t working pal. Not for you. Not for me. And not for anyone who’s watching. Pick up the pace before I smash your face. 

Then there’s this tweet from Will Gray: Walking off 12 green, Koepka stares at an official and points to his non-existent watch.

I’m surprised that he went with a watch gesture and not a throat-slitting gesture. That really was an amazing round to watch – not just because of Holmes and the 87, but because of how Holmes went about that 87. And how Koepka appeared to be ready to go one-eight-seven on him for it.  I really thought we were going to have to add excruciatingly slow play, to our list of reasons to go. 

In the very least, I thought Koepka was going to go Aaron Boone on JB Holmes.

Bear down!

Let’s go!

You're having a piece of bleep start to this game.

I feel bad for you, but bleeping get better.

Tighten this bleep up!

Again, Koepka was very professional afterwards and acknowledged that Holmes was having a rough day, but he finally let it slip: "When it's your turn to hit, your glove is not on, then you start thinking about it. That's where the problem lies. It's not that he takes that long. He doesn't do anything until it's his turn. That's the frustrating part. But he's not the only one that does it out here."

You could practically hear Koepka biting his tongue after the round. He was biting it so hard, I’m surprised we didn’t bite it off. That’s a guy who always lets you know what he’s thinking and the fact that he didn’t let it rip after that torturous round was beyond impressive. Because you know he wanted to beat Holmes worse than the course was beating Holmes

Two things are clear: The first is that Brooks Koepka is really freaking good at golf. The second is that he wants everyone to shut up and play faster. And I’m here for both of those things. I’m here for dominance and I’m here for calling out slow players. Keep doing you, Brooks.