Before starting his round, a player is said to start thinking about playing the par-3 17th hole on TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course. As they play the par-5 16th, you can see them leering to their right, knowing – or rather, not knowing – what awaits them.
The Players Championship is still a few weeks away, but Brooks Koepka had to think about the difficult island hole when asked on Thursday what the second worst shot in golf is, assuming the tee shot at No. 17 is the scariest.
“The drop zone from 17,” he replied, “since I’ve been there a lot.” “I’ll be honest with you, I’ve played that hole – if they put up a statistic for who’s played it the worst in the last five years, it’ll almost certainly be me.” Yeah, I’m not particularly good at that hole.”
Koepka wasn’t joking when he said it. He’s played in The Players Championship five times and shot a 137-yard 17th hole in 15 over par.
He shot two balls into the sea in Round 1 of his 2015 debut, one from the tee box and the other from the drop zone. In 2016, he had another water ball in Round 3; in 2017, he had another in Round 1; in 2018, he had two more in Round 2; and in 2019, he had one in the final round.
Koepka has seven water balls, two quadruple bogeys, one triple bogey, and two double bogeys to his credit, along with two birdies and two bogeys. He’s never missed at least one penalty shot on No. 17 in a Players game.
In his most recent effort, in Round 1 of 2020, he made par on the hole. The competition was subsequently canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. While rehabbing from a knee injury, Koepka did not play last season.
Now that he’s back in shape, Koepka shot a 2-under-par 68 in Round 1 of the Honda Classic, including 1 under on the Bear Trap’s two par 3s, Nos. 15 and 17. He’s four points behind the early leader.
“Yeah, I didn’t accomplish anything to get a 4 or 5 on the scale. That’s a fantastic result “he stated “I just kind of ho-hummed it around, and like I said, I didn’t really deserve anything worse or better.”