PGA Championship 2019: Brandel Chamblee changes tune in response to Brooks Koepka win

May 20, 2019

In recent months, Brandel Chamblee has had plenty to say about Brooks Koepka — not all of it positive. But on Sunday night following the PGA Championship, the Golf Channel personality was more than happy to give credit to the game’s latest four-time major champion.

“He’s handled it mentally. He’s handled it physically. He’s handled it technically. Which is exactly what Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods did,” Chamblee said after Koepka’s win. “He’s made a believer out of me.”

There was a certain level of vitriol — playful or otherwise — in the lead-up to the year’s second major. The back-and-forth was best demonstrated by Koepka posting a picture of Chamblee wearing a clown nose to his Twitter account after being slighted, later saying the picture was “worth a thousand words.”

Koepka acknowledged on Sunday night that Chamblee’s comments, particularly those about his toughness, had affected him.

“Telling me I wasn’t tough,” Koepka said. “That pissed me off. That really pissed me off.”

At the time, Chamblee’s comments put a stir through Koepka’s camp.“His talent is undeniable,” he said of Koepka. “But I’ve heard people say this. You extrapolate from accomplishment, you infer qualities from a human being like, ‘He’s really tough.’ Maybe he is, I don’t know. I got to say, I still need to be convinced.”

On Sunday night, Chamblee insisted he simply hadn’t seen the PGA performance coming.

“I don’t know that anybody saw this coming. How is it that a man who’s only won twice in regular Tour events shows up at events with the thickest pressure, that mean the most, with the most mental hurdles, that everybody else trips over, and he just glides right over them? One by one by one. It’s miraculous is what it is.”

In addition to the praise, Chamblee provided a note of caution to those crowning Koepka golf’s new king.

“A lot of spoils do come with this success. Can he sidestep those hurdles and continue on in this same sort of blue-flame tenacity that he has going? That’s a big question, but it’s going to be fun to watch.”

When it comes to Chamblee and Koepka, only one question remains: if Brooks has converted Brandel, his toughest critic, where then will he derive his extra motivation?