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Golf

Brooks Koepka’s game sounds good, and other takeaways from the RBC Heritage

Brooks Koepka is not afraid to speak his mind, which puts him in rare company on the PGA Tour.
Brooks Koepka is not afraid to speak his mind, which puts him in rare company on the PGA Tour.Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Want to know when PGA Tour star Brooks Koepka is on his game? Not when he’s driving a 329-yard par-4, making two eagles and four birdies in his final round, or even having a seventh-place finish at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C., his best this season.

He’s at his best when he tees up his acerbic wit.

Asked Thursday before the tournament about players wearing microphones to perhaps spice up the action in lieu of fans, Koepka blasted off: “I don’t understand why they want us to wear a mike when there’s a boom mike that stands 10 feet away from every shot that I hit.

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“If the announcers would just shut up and listen, you could hear every word that we’re talking about.

“I don’t understand what the thing is. Half the time the lady’s holding a boom mike, and she’s listening to everything we’re saying all the way down. If they would just shut up, they could hear everything.”

It might have been the best shot of the tournament.

Koepka appears to be rounding into form after rehabbing a knee injury and is in this week’s field for the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Conn.

Hope someone asks him if he can be more specific regarding the announcers he was talking about (Nick Faldo is my guess).

Some takeaways from the RBC Heritage:

▪ I’d enjoy seeing Bulk Brothers Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau paired at the Travelers. They have a beefy history. Koepka criticized DeChambeau’s brutal pace of play more than a year ago, then DeChambeau took a shot at Koepka’s physique in ESPN’s Body Issue, saying Koepka did not have six-pack abs.

Koepka responded with a photo of his four-pack: two US Open and two PGA Championship trophies. That was the biggest body shot of all.

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▪ Harbour Town, a course that requires precision more than power, took the driver out of some of the big hitters’ hands. So DeChambeau took out his 4-iron and hit it 260 yards.

▪ If you want a putting lesson, see Webb Simpson. He made 180 feet of putts Friday (the Tour average is 80 feet) and this from a player who was left for dead when professional golf outlawed anchored putters in 2016.

Webb Simpson lines up a putt during Sunday's final round.
Webb Simpson lines up a putt during Sunday's final round.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Simpson won the Heritage, his second win this season, and vaulted to the top of the FedEx Cup standings. He has won twice on Father’s Day. The other was the 2012 US Open.

▪ Has anyone seen Rory McIlroy? His streak of seven straight top-five finishes was snapped two weeks ago at Colonial, and he had another dud at Hilton Head, finishing T-41.

▪ Justin Thomas made the cut on the number, then went 13 under on the weekend to finish tied for eighth. Thomas shot 63 Sunday, his 14th round of 63 or better since 2015, tops on the PGA Tour.

▪ Harbour Town yielded 10 63s (and a final-round 62 by Dylan Frittelli) during the week, and that included a guy who finished T-48 (Joel Dahmen). A tight course is no match in soft conditions for Tour players.

▪ Nick Watney was the first player in the PGA Tour’s restart to test positive for the coronavirus. His caddie and playing partners all tested negative.

What does the future hold for Nick Watney?
What does the future hold for Nick Watney?Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The Travelers Championship is in for an even bigger test this week. The Heritage conducted 369 tests prior to the Thursday’s opening round and all were negative. Watney felt ill Friday and was tested, and withdrew immediately.

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▪ Hilton Head was hopping all week. The island is a popular tourist destination, and players complained of jam-packed restaurants — they couldn’t even get takeout — without adherence to social distancing.

The Heritage is usually held the week after the Masters, in April. The weather is not as cooperative then, so the crowds are fewer and the Harbour Town course plays tighter and tougher.

▪ On the LPGA Tour, former World No. 1 So Yeon Ryu won the Korean Women’s Open Championship and donated her entire earnings to COVID-19 relief. It doesn’t get much classier than that.







Jim Hoban can be reached at james.hoban@globe.com