Brooks Koepka answered critics of his recent weight loss with a brilliant first round at the Masters on Thursday.
Koepka shot a six-under 66 to tie for the lead with Bryson DeChambeau after the first day of play. The stellar start was likely a relief for Koepka, who has faced criticism for losing so much weight.
Koepka won his second consecutive US Open last year and also won the PGA Championship. Then he went out and dropped around 20 pounds off his muscular frame, with some rumors suggesting it was due to a desire to look better for an ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” photoshoot.
Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee ripped Koepka for the weight loss.
“For him to change his body for vanity reasons, for a vanity shoot, is the most reckless self-sabotage that I have ever seen of an athlete in his prime,” Chamblee said.
The weight loss had some effects as Koepka has been shorter off the tee since dropping the weight in November. He also acknowledged this week that he may have gone too far with his weight loss efforts. He cut down to 1,800 calories per day, which sapped him of energy.
“But I wanted to do it and try to lose some weight, and maybe went about it a little too aggressively for just a long period of time and the intensity of what I was doing,” Koepka said.
Whatever the reason for the weight loss, Koepka seems to have things back on track at Augusta National. The 28-year-old is seeking his first green jacket and fourth major win.