Sportsdesk | February 2, 2014
The National’s Steve Elling filed this shorter report on American European Tour rookie Brooks Koepka for today’s paper from the Dubai Desert Classic, where he’s been reporting from throughout the tournament.
As of posting, Koepka is 13-under for the tournament through 14 holes of today’s final round, one stroke shy of leader Stephen Gallacher.
DUBAI // Sure, it sounds glamorous.
There are private jets for top players, seven-figure appearance fees, entourages with swing coaches and physical trainers, and famous girlfriends with huge diamonds on their fingers.
But for a player just starting out in golf, the game can be a jumble of passports issues, visa problems, lost luggage and adventurous culinary experiences.
American Brooks Koepka, a European Tour rookie who is tied for third at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, played last year on the developmental Challenge Tour, which hopscotches around the globe. Since turning pro three years ago, he has played in 21 different countries on six different circuits.
He won tournaments last year in Italy, Spain and Scotland, but some of the more interesting locales were the ones he had trouble getting to. With a caddie in tow, they needed two visas for multiple nations, including India and China, which resulted in some major headaches.
Then there was the paperwork snafu that the Challenge circuit’s money leader could not quite crack.
“I missed playing in Russia,” he said.
No visa, no golf.
Koepka, 23, said he has to be careful with what he eats in some countries, because of concerns over the water supplies. Then again, he has not been afraid to sample the menu items that might cause most Americans to think twice. “I ate horsemeat in Kazakhstan,” he said, laughing.