When your brother is four-time Major Champion and World Number One Brooks Koepka, it is fair to say you have big shoes to fill. But rather than being daunted by the success of his older sibling, Chase Koepka says he is proud of his brother, and is motivated to follow him into the game’s upper echelon.
How sick of talking about Brooks are you? You must get asked about him a lot…
I get asked about it quite a bit but it’s awesome. To see what he’s been able to do only helps me push myself a little bit more.
In what ways does his success inspire you?
It inspires me just to make sure I always compete out there. He’s been able to compete at every single level. He was competing on the Challenge Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour and in Majors now so it’s just keeping a good mindset and staying positive.
Brooks recently said in a podcast that he only took up golf due to a car crash which prevented him from playing contact sports for a while. Was it the same for you?
I was in the back seat of the car when it happened and instead of him going to hockey camp, there was an opportunity to try out this thing called a Junior Play Pass in our area. Basically, in the summer, we went out every day and played there. It was $100 and they let you play as much as you want. They had nine holes blocked off just for the juniors, so it was pretty cool. There would be 30 or 40 kids out there every day.
It must have been pretty cool to get into the game at the same time as your brother.
It was one of those things where we were just out there having fun with our friends. We weren’t really worried about how good we were or how bad we were. We just went out and had fun with our friends and I think that just helped us out in the long run.
Brooks has obviously gone from the Challenge Tour to achieve great things and you also came through the Challenge Tour and got your card two years ago. What does the Challenge Tour mean to your family?
Honestly, the Challenge Tour has been a fantastic stepping-stone for our whole family. Brooks obviously started here and I started here as well and I just think it’s been a great opportunity for us to play some good golf and travel the world. It’s turned out a little bit better for him than it has for me so far but I’m just looking to give it a good push and get back on the European Tour.
Some of the world’s best players have come through the Challenge Tour. What do you think it is about the Tour that produces these great golfers?
I just think the grind that you have out here really brings out the best in a lot of guys. You’ve seen in the last couple of years or so that guys are coming straight off this tour and in a year or two are playing in Major Championships. I think that’s something special.
You’ve missed a lot of Brooks’ Major wins due to travelling to events in the past. Did you watch his final round at Pebble Beach last week?
I got to watch about four or five holes. Once we landed here in Malaga and got to hotel, I think I stayed up until about 3.30am – 4.00am watching it so I was very tired the next day. I spoke to him after and just said ‘good playing, I know you were trying to push but it’s tough when someone else is playing pretty well too’. He was happy with his week and he was just digging into me a little bit about starting to play a little bit better myself.
Looking at this week, what do you think of the course out here in Estepona?
It’s a really nice golf course. There are a lot of visually tricky tee shots out here where you have to force yourself to hit it onto some lines. There are some elevation drops out here. Even the first hole is 60 yards down the hill onto the fairway. If the wind stays up, it’s definitely going to be a factor. If the wind lays down then I think you’ll see a lot of low scores. First off, you’re just trying to make it through those 36 holes and then in the match play you’re just playing one-on-one. That’s the main goal just to get there and get some momentum.
Do you enjoy playing match play golf?
I do, I think it’s great. You don’t have to play the course, you just have to play your opponent and I think that’s an awesome thing to be able to do out here. Having some different formats is great and it exposes us to different formats. I know a lot of guys played a lot more match play growing up for their county events and amateur events. I didn’t get a chance to do it myself a whole lot but every time I get to play match play, I enjoy it.
You made your first cut of the season last week. Is the immediate goal now just to build on that?
It’s about taking what I learned last week and getting four rounds in me was good for me. Honestly, I don’t think my game is far off from winning, so I just need to build on last week and just play easy golf.