Harmon: Koepka Knows More About LIV Than Any Player

Claude Harmon III gave a pair of fascinating interviews with Golfweek, one before his player Brooks Koepka won the PGA for the third time and one after. Harmon, the son of legendary Butch, now has eight majors of his own as a coach and he continues to work with players on both LIV Golf and the PGA Tour.

One of the most interesting parts was how involved Koepka is with LIV Golf. The common perception is that the American has a few regrets over his exit from the PGA Tour but, according to Harmon, he's all over it in his own understated way.

“We had to tell him in Orlando, Ricky (Elliott) and I said, ‘Hey, we need you to focus on golf,’ because he is in every meeting. Brooks knows more about LIV other than Phil, he knows more about the inner workings of LIV than any player. So at Augusta he’s playing good and people are like, ‘yeah, but he’s really not a LIV guy because he plays with Rory and he hasn’t come out and bashed them.’

"Like when he’s home, he’s like, ‘Hey, can we hit balls tomorrow between 10 and 12 because I’m on Zoom calls the rest of the afternoon.’ Like, he’s non-stop. He knows more about LIV and the teams and the inner workings because he’s in everything. Anybody that thinks that he’s done all that to just walk away from all of this, he just doesn’t have any beef with the Tour. He doesn’t have any beef with anybody on the Tour. He doesn’t have any beef with Jay Monahan. He just chose to go play LIV, that’s all this was.”

Harmon also made the very valid point that the media were too quick to write off Koepka and how the LIV structure of 14 weeks of golf a year will prove to be a positive rather than a negative when it comes to the majors.

"LIV allows players to have time off, that you guys have beat everybody up for. They do get time off, they get two weeks stretches off, they got four months off. And so some of these guys used that time. I think Bryson used that time really well. I think Phil used that time really, really well. But, you know, I watched Taylor Gooch, he was on DJ’s team last year. That kid is a legit golfer. He is an old-school shaper, he can move it a bunch of different directions and then the golf that Peter Uhlein is playing right now on LIV.

"I mean if you’re going to make the argument that the only reason Peter is playing good golf is because he’s only got to play against 48 players then you can make the same argument that Max Homa and Sahith (Theegala) and all these guys that weren’t ever really superstars all of a sudden you could make that argument too. It’s just golf, there is some unbelievable golf being played on LIV. There really is because I see it week in and week out.”

Harmon cited Will Zalatoris' situation to demonstrate the PGA Tour love-in as opposed to how Koepka was then being viewed. For the record, of the eight majors that Zalatoris hasn't had to withdraw from he's had an incredible six top-10 finishes.

“Some of these guys haven’t won tournaments in quite a long time. The fact that Will Zalatoris is top 10 in the world is laughable, and it has nothing to do with him. But my point with that is you guys all acted like Brooks was a shitty player and Will Zalatoris was great, but the guy has won one (expletive) golf tournament, yeah, he’s finished second in a bunch of tournaments. So have a lot of players, but you guys are ready to crown him as if he’s the second coming of Christ and you guys are acting like Brooks Koepka was a bum."

Brandel Chamblee and Eamon Lynch came in for some particular stick and there was also a stinging blow for none other than Tiger Woods who his dad famously coached at the start of his illustrative career.

“If I’m critical of you guys in the media, you guys portrayed this as (Brooks) took the money and then Tiger came out with his comment, you know, Tiger, the ultimate guy who got all the money up front. I mean, I was around then. He flew to his first professional golf tournament on Nike’s private jet, and he wasn’t paying for it. So you guys pushed this narrative and pretended like LIV was an exhibition, nobody watched it, you guys didn’t report on it, none of you guys came to the tournaments. I mean the golf that I saw Cam (Smith) play last year, the golf that I saw DJ play last year, the golf that I saw Brooks play at the end of the year is the same golf that is being played on the PGA Tour. You guys just tried to pretend that it wasn’t.”

“How you guys all thought that these guys just weren’t going to show up and be great players is beyond me. I think it is an interesting Jedi mind trick that they played on you guys and you guys fell for it. Because you guys were all, ‘These guys were all washed up. They took the bag. They’re insignificant. They play against no competition.’ And that’s just not the case."