Golf

One month after Brooks Koepka ripped him, Matthew Wolff has a response

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Matthew Wolff hits a shot on Saturday on the 6th hole at the Greenbrier.
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The questions to Matthew Wolff on Friday had a theme. 
“Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve changed in your practice or routines or anything? Has it just been extra time out there?”
“Can you just kind of talk about how you were able to just kind of turn things around today after obviously — the scores haven’t been that great the last three tournaments.”
“Was there something coming into this week that you thought, all right, this is going to be the week? Anything that kind of clicked? Anything you’ve been working on?”
“Do you feel like you’re at where you were at the beginning of the year in terms of just the way — like you say, you started off well.”
And one more in this manner. But we’ll save that one till the end.
In short, though, you can gather that Wolff had played well, after having not. The numbers can tell the story, too. On Friday, during the first round of LIV Golf’s Greenbrier event, Wolff shot a nine-under 61, and he followed that up on Saturday with a 67, and he’ll start Sunday with a share of the final-round lead — and all of that follows a stretch where he finished 44th out of 48 players, 41st, 34th, WD, 44th and 47th. 
But then there were words, too. You may remember them. They came before the 47th finish, just about a month ago in London, just ahead of LIV’s last event. 
LIV plays team golf, and Wolff’s team-golf captain said this of him, in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Alex Miceli:
“I mean, when you quit on your round, you give up and stuff like that, that’s not competing,” Brooks Koepka said. “I’m not a big fan of that. You don’t work hard. It’s very tough. It’s very tough to have even like a team dynamic when you’ve got one guy that won’t work, one guy is not going to give any effort, he’s going to quit on the course, break clubs, gets down, bad body language, it’s very tough. 
“I’ve basically given up on him. A lot of talent, but I mean the talent’s wasted.”
We’ll refrain from commenting, but trust that there were some takes.
Wolff also responded, in a note, also to Sports Illustrated. He said he was disappointed. He admitted he had let his team down. He noted his challenges with mental health. He fired back some. And then he said he would say no more. 
Not even Friday in response to those questions. 
But here are the answers anyway. They have a theme, too. If improvement is your thing. 
Yes, here’s the pay-off for you coming this far. No revenge. No war of words. 
But still juicy, if you’re looking to get better. 
“Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve changed in your practice or routines or anything? Has it just been extra time out there?”
“No, nothing has changed,” Wolff said. “I just go out here and I give it my best every single day. It’s golf. It’s a roller coaster, and I’m learning to accept the good and the bad as they come and roll with it. I haven’t changed anything.”
“Can you just kind of talk about how you were able to just kind of turn things around today after obviously — the scores haven’t been that great the last three tournaments.”
“Yeah, I can’t give you an answer,” Wolff said. “That’s just golf. To be honest, it’s a lot of ups and downs.
“Like I’ve said a thousand times, or feels like, I’m just learning to accept the good and the bad as they come. I don’t really feel like I’ve done anything different. I’m working hard, ticking the boxes and doing what I can, going out there and trying to play as well as I can.”
“Was there something coming into this week that you thought, all right, this is going to be the week? Anything that kind of clicked? Anything you’ve been working on?”
“No, not really. I definitely — I went to go see my coach, George [Gankas], over the off time, but just for a day. He really liked where I was at, and he said everything looked good really.
“I just have been doing my thing really. There’s not much that’s changed. I go out there and play golf, and everyone goes through slumps, everyone goes through bad times, and I’m lucky mine only lasted a few tournaments.
“I started off the year really good, and I’m looking to end it really good.”
“Do you feel like you’re at where you were at the beginning of the year in terms of just the way — like you say, you started off well.”
“Yeah, I don’t really like to compare. I think it’s just day by day. I could come out here tomorrow and not feel good. At the end of the day, I feel like I go out there and try to shoot the lowest score I can every single day, and continue to just work hard and tick the boxes.”
With that, here’s the other question, as promised then from the start. 
There’s a tip there, too. 
“Such an impressive round today; was this like a statement round for you, to say, hey, I can still play; I’m really good?”
“I mean, I didn’t really feel like I needed to prove anything to anyone,” Wolff said. “Just to myself really.
“But at the end of the day, it’s just golf. I mean, you play bad and then you play good. Like I said, I’m accepting the fact that just because I played well today, it might not go the same tomorrow or might go just as well. At the end of the day, I’m doing what I can and trying to shoot the lowest score I can every day. 
“I promise, I’m trying.”

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.
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