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Rory McIlroy was “taken aback” by Brooks Koepka’s controversial comments

Rory McIlroy Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka didn’t endear himself to too many golf fans with his latest comments.

Rory McIlroy has defended the record of Dustin Johnson after Brooks Koepka took aim at the 36-year-old ahead of the final round of the US PGA Championship on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy Brooks Koepka
Rory McIlroy

“A lot of guys on the leaderboard I don’t think have won (a major).”

Going into the final round, Johnson held a one-shot lead over the chasing pack. Koepka was two-shots behind Johnson and chasing a third consecutive PGA Championship.

Koepka questioned Johnson’s ability because he only has one major to his name while he has has four.

“A lot of guys on the leaderboard I don’t think have won (a major),” Koepka told CBS.

Rory McIlroy Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka

“I guess DJ has only won one. I don’t know a lot of the other guys that are up there.”

Neither Johnson nor Koepka won the title on Sunday as 23-year-old Collin Morikawa produced a superb round to win his maiden major title in what was just his second appearance in a major.

McIlroy, who carded a 68 on Sunday to finish 11 shots behind Morikawa, was quizzed on Koepka’s comments as he questioned the American’s record on the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy

“If he’s trying to play mind games, he’s trying to do it to the wrong person.”

“It’s a very different mentality to bring to golf that I don’t think a lot of golfers have,” McIlroy said.

“I was watching the golf last night and heard the interview and was just taken aback a little bit by what he (Koepka) said and whether he was trying to play mind games or not.

“If he’s trying to play mind games, he’s trying to do it to the wrong person. I don’t think DJ really gives much of a concern about that.

Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy

“You’ve won one and you’ve had to do a lot of good things to do that.”

“I certainly try to respect everyone out here. Everyone is a great player. If you’ve won a major championship, you’re a hell of a player. Doesn’t mean you’ve ‘only’ won one. You’ve won one and you’ve had to do a lot of good things to do that.

“I mean it’s sort of hard to knock a guy (Johnson) that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”

“Maybe I’m just not as good as I used to be.”

The Holywood native said he was disappointed with his own performance and conceded that maybe he is ‘not as good’ as he once was.

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not as good as I used to be. I can’t really put my finger on it. I go out there and try my best every single day. Some days I play better than others.

“You’ve just got to keep going and keep persisting and see if you can do better the next time.”

McIlroy will be hoping for a better performance at the US Open next month.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email seanmc@punditarena.com or on Twitter