By Steve Keating
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – It is only 157 miles (252 kilometers) from Bay Hill to Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida, but Brooks Koepka took the scenic route, flying across the United States and back en route to this week’s Players Championship.
After finishing 41st at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, where he shot a career-worst 81 in the third round, Koepka made a hit-and-run 2,000-mile-plus trip to Las Vegas.
The reason for the cross-country dash was for a lesson with renowned instructor Butch Harmon, whose former clients include Tiger Woods and Greg Norman.
“Butch has seen me swing it a million times,” the struggling Koepka told reporters on Wednesday on the eve of the Players Championship.
American Koepka has long worked with Claude Harmon, brother of Butch.
“I felt like I just I had so much going on in my head, so many swing thoughts and needed to clear the slate, and the Harmons are family to me, and so we flew out Sunday, went and saw Butch Monday, and got in yesterday afternoon.
“I just needed a fresh set of eyes just to look at it and see if he saw anything out of the ordinary.”
Koepka was world number one for eight months until February, but he has been bereft of confidence after injuring his left knee last year.
The four-times major champion says the joint is now fine, even if his recent form has been anything but.
He did not reveal exactly what flaws Butch had identified, but said it had not taken long.
“He saw it in four swings. It’s pretty fundamental stuff.
“A few things that were wrong and the two things he told me were same things Claude’s been telling me, but just in a different way.”
(Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)