Brooks Koepka: The specter of embarrassment

Brooks Koepka managed to continue to follow his conservative plan at the FedEx St. Jude Classic: shoot for the middle of the greens, be sure to at least two putt and every now and then one will go in for birdie. That happened four times in the second round against one bogey which wasn’t going to hurt him. It’s the doubles that hurt you; you have to make two birdies to get back to even and then another to try to go lower with the hot side of the field. It’s a diabolical game…which is why we are so fascinated by it.

Koepka is at 9-under with a one-shot lead over Austin Cook — in on a sponsor’s exemption — who has a one-shot lead over Steve Alker, a journeyman from New Zealand and good enough to keep pressing on. You have to admire that. Koepka was happy with his result:

Pretty pleased.  I felt it could have been easily a 63, 64.  Couple putts didn’t drop.  Playing really solid and pleased to be there.

There was a mastery principle that came up for Koepka on the par-5 16th. It had to do with embarrassment, something I’ve written about before.  

He killed his drive 309 yards leaving himself with 209 to the hole. He didn’t say what he hit from there, but these days it would have been something like a 5-iron. Whatever it was, he came up just short of the green and 25 feet from the hole. The chip shot didn’t go all that well since his intention was to make it:

This is actually quite embarrassing.  Into the grain.  I was trying to make it, but it just kind of hit and just jabbed out a little bit.  I guess it all works out.

Since that was an eagle chip, was it frustrating even though he did make a birdie?

More embarrassing.  Really didn’t deserve a 4.

Embarrassment” was one of the first posts I wrote back in 2010, the earliest days of the blog. It was very well received and, in a quick re-read I make about once a year, it still stands the test of time. I could attempt to summarize, rewrite or paraphrase it here, but for now, I couldn’t do any better. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to follow the link because it’s an important set of ideas that was at the center of my ability to persevere for nine years in the face of my 132 failures to qualify to play on the Champions Tour.

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