12 April 2019: Warning to Brooks Koepka: Unless Jack Nicklaus raises the topic, avoid telling him about your early adventure in Friday’s second round of the 83rd Masters. Oh, and Lee Trevino? Should you cross his paths, don’t mention it to him, either.
Both World Golf Hall of Famers once told veteran golf writer Gary Van Sickle that among the half-dozen golden rules to playing Augusta National was this one about the drive at Pink Dogwood, the 575-yard par-5 second: Do not go left.
“There’s a Delta ticket counter down there,” Trevino joked, “because players who drove it there might as well book a flight home.”
Picking up on that, Nicklaus added: “If you get a little sloppy, it’s not a good place to be.”
If you’re guessing by the introduction that perhaps Koepka went left at No. 2, you are correct. After going left, he walked off the second green with his first-ever double-bogey on a par 5 at Augusta National and put a screeching halt to whatever momentum he may have been in position to build after an opening birdie.
His reaction? “I’m human,” he said. “I’m going to make some mistakes.”
Both Koepka and his first-round co-leader, Bryson DeChambeau, had their challenges on Friday. Koepka withstood the second hole for a 71 and is tied for the 36-hole lead. DeChambeau had a 75, but is only four back at 3-under par.
DeChambeau was 7-under and leading by two shots when a 156-yard shot went 167 yards and over the ninth green.
His reaction? “I think what happened there was that I didn’t catch the spin rate, the proper spin rate,” DeChambeau said. “I caught a lower spin rate with a lower trajectory, and it just flew right over the green and just kept ascending.”
When Koepka turned in 37, he had a chance to change his direction when he reached the par-5 13th in two shots. But he three-putted, missing a 4-foot birdie try, and seemingly had reason to hang his head.
His reaction? “I don’t think about anything,” Koepka said.
A little different than the sequence for DeChambeau at the par-4 10th, after his shot from the middle of the fairway went well left and his third shot, a wedge, went completely to the other side of the green. An ugly double.
His reaction? “I hit a little 40-yard shot relative to what I do on the range all day long, accounting for a five- or six- or seven-degree upslope, trying to hit it 40 yards and it comes out, shoots over the green like 60 yards, 55 yards. I don’t get it,” DeChambeau said.
So even with their Thursday scores and closeness in tee times, Koepka and DeChambeau are galaxies apart when it comes to the way in which they explain their golf. And on Friday, there was a wide disparity to discuss.
Koepka was nonchalant about his bounce-back from the 37 on the first nine, as birdies at the par-5 15th and par-4 18th enabled him to shoot 1-under 71 and maintain a share of the lead at 7-under 137.
DeChambeau was utterly exasperated by his 39 on the second nine – eight strokes higher than his torrid performance Thursday – and with a 75–141 he moved into a share of 16th.
Different directions for different personalities who had different summations for their second rounds.
Republished from the Masters