Brandel Chamblee has never been one to pull punches, and he was in mid-season form Tuesday night when he harshly criticized Brooks Koepka for his recent dramatic weight loss, suggesting that the Tour star lost the weight for a magazine photo shoot.
When assessing Koepka’s chances at the Masters this week, Chamblee first noted Koepka’s stellar play last summer, when he won his second-straight U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and then backed it up with a victory at the PGA Championship.
“We know what he did at the end of the last year,” Chamblee said Tuesday night. “You could extrapolate what he did at the end of last year to what he was likely to do here at Augusta National if everything were the same.”
But everything is not the same for Koepka, and Chamblee made that point very clear.
“For him to change his body, and his body chemistry, for vanity reasons, for a vanity shoot, is the most reckless self-sabotage that I have ever seen of an athlete in his prime.”
You don’t just throw out terms like “reckless self-sabotage” on TV unless you mean it, and clearly Chamblee does mean what he’s saying. So what’s all the fuss about?
Koepka is known for his athletic, linebacker-type build. His strength is one of his greatest advantages, and he has built a reputation as one of the longest players on Tour. But back in March, Koepka revealed that he intentionally lost 24 pounds over four months, dropping to 190 lbs in total.
But weight wasn’t the only thing lost in the process; he lost yards, too. In all, Koepka revealed that the weight change lost him 10-12 yards off the tee, saying, “I don’t have as much feel,” he said. “I just feel out of sorts.”
That’s a scary quote coming from a man who dominated pro golf less than a year ago. Since Koepka’s weight loss was intentional, it naturally begs the question: why?
Many have speculated that Koepka lost the weight for an upcoming appearance in ESPN‘s The Body Issue, in which famous athletes are photographed in the nude to show off their athletic builds. That’s likely what Chamblee was referring to when he claimed Koepka’s weight loss was for “vanity reasons, for a vanity shoot.”
That would also explain the genuine disgust in Chamblee’s voice during his exhortation of the Tour star.
We’ll have to wait and see if Koepka does indeed appear in The Body Issue. If he does, he won’t be the first golfer to do so. Greg Norman, Gary Player and Suzann Pettersen are among those who took it all off for the magazine in the past.
If Koepka does grace the pages of ESPN, there’s little doubt that Chamblee will have a lot more to say on the topic, especially if Koepka’s play continues to decline. Though he finished T2 at the Honda Classic, his last three finishes on Tour have been MC, T56, T56.
Koepka tees off for the first round of the 2019 Masters Thursday at 2:00 p.m. ET alongside Jordan Spieth and Paul Casey. You can check out a clip of the Chamblee’s rant below.
To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.