The 2019 Masters was one of the great “what-if” editions of the tournament in recent memory (though aren’t they all?). What if Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau all didn’t rinse their tee shots on No. 12? What if Patrick Cantlay didn’t make back-to-back bogeys at 16 and 17? What if Xander Schauffele made birdie at the 15th? What if Dustin Johnson’s putt dropped at the 18th? We could do this all day.
Apparently, the best “what-if” of all is one we didn’t even know about, and it almost occurred on the par-5 15th on Sunday. There, Koepka had great look at eagle, one that would have gotten him 13 under with three to play had it dropped. If it did, we would have witnessed a content moment for the ages, according to Koepka. Speaking to his coach, Claude Harmon III, on Instagram Live on Wednesday afternoon, Koepka explained his plan, while simultaneously daggering his caddie Ricky Elliott.
“On 15 I convinced Ricky I was going to make the putt,” Koepka said. “You kind of know when it’s going in. He’s such a bad reader of greens anyway, the guy can’t read a putt. I never ask, because he can’t. He’s a great putter, too, that’s the funny part, but we just can’t match speed and line.
“But I remember saying to him ‘I’m going to point at Tiger if I make this thing.’ And still to this day I cannot believe that putt missed. I have no idea how.”
The entire golf world was pretty pleased with the eventual outcome of the 2019 Masters, but everyone would be lying if they said they wouldn’t have enjoyed this moment. The GIFs. My god, the GIFs. We almost wish Koepka hadn’t told this story, thus implanting one of the greatest coulda-shoulda-woulda content moments in all of our brains. By the way, if you go back and look at that eagle putt, we’re not sure how it missed either.
Koepka was in peak Koepka form his entire Q&A with Harmon, which you should absolutely watch while it’s still up on Harmon’s Instagram page if you have the time. If you don’t, we jotted down some of the highlights for your reading pleasure.
On his no drinking challenge
“I did 30 days of no drinking. It did not last 31. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty hungover today. But I haven’t felt this good in a long time. Knee feels good, body feels good.”
On Brandel Chamblee and whether he’d go out to dinner with him if asked
“Hell no. Yeah, that’s a definite no. Last year at the Open, we had to hop in a golf cart with him, and I was like ‘you want to get out and I’ll sit there?’ He didn’t say anything.”
On rewatching the 2019 Masters on Easter
“I was over at my dad’s, and he’s a massive sports guy, massive golf guy. So obviously, we had to watch Augusta, right? I’m watching my tee shot on 12 go in the water and I think what people don’t realize was, I was two back of Frankie (Francesco Molinari), so I still have to make a move. You’re never aiming for that pin, you’re always aiming for the right side of that bunker. I backed off the shot right before, because when I stepped in I felt the wind puff into or off the left or something, and then it was completely different than it was two seconds before that. And as we back off I remember thinking, ‘Well, all right, maybe it needs to be flighted a little more,’ and I thought I did it. Look, I hit a great shot, I wouldn’t take it back. In the air I was loving it and thinking I was going to make a birdie, this is your chance. And then it didn’t pitch on the green.
“I didn’t complain, I don’t know if there’s video, but I handed the club right back to Rick and I waited a couple of seconds because I didn’t want to let [Ian] Poulter and Webb [Simpson] know how the hole was playing. It’s not mind games, but it kind of is. It takes away a lot of the senses if a guy comes out and says ‘I hit it bad.’ If you don’t say anything at all, now he’s thinking ‘How did the contact sound? How did everything go?’ and now there’s a bit of uncertainty, which is the one thing you don’t want on No. 12 at Augusta. I think I whispered to Rick after Poulter hit that I hit it exactly how I wanted, and then I think there was a few curse words as we walked down toward the water.”
On his first pick of whom to play with if Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker gave him the choice
“Matthew Wolff. Love that kid.”
On Adam Scott
“I have the biggest man crush on Scotty ever. I love Scotty, he was my idol. Genuinely one of the nicest humans I’ve ever been around.”
On Patrick Reed
“His short game is a joke. I don’t think people realize how good of a wedge player he is around the greens. I’ll never forget, we’re playing Charlotte a few years ago. It’s me, Tiger and him, and he had this shot where I thought there was no chance he could get it within 15 feet And he hits it to kick-in, literally. And I’m like ‘oh my god.’ And Tiger even said to me ‘I don’t understand?’ He’s that good.
On his comments about Reed cheating
“That’s been super misconstrued. Just because I said I thought he cheated. But at the same time, that’s the guy I’d love to play Ryder Cup matches with. People are obviously going to give him sh-t, but I could care less. If people got in his face, I’d be right there; he wouldn’t need Kessler [Karain, Reed’s caddie].”