Matthew Wolff calls Brooks Koepka’s scathing public criticism ‘heartbreaking’

Matthew Wolff is heartbroken after reading what his LIV Golf team captain had to say about him on Thursday in London.

Wolff, just one day after Brooks Koepka made scathing comments about Wolff’s effort and his “wasted” talents on the golf course, wasn’t happy to learn what was being said about him.

“To hear through the media that our team leader has given up on me is heartbreaking,” Wolff said in a statement to Sports Illustrated ahead of the LIV Golf tournament this weekend in London. “It’s not what a team member looks to hear from its leader, and I think we all know these comments should have been handled much differently.”

Brooks Koepka erupts on Matthew Wolff

Koepka is the team captain for Smash GC on LIV Golf. Wolff, Jason Kokrak and Chase Koepka round out that team out.

Wolff has struggled lately on the course. He finished 44th of a possible 48th in Spain, which followed his withdrawal in Washington D.C. before the final round due to an undisclosed injury. He was ahead of just two players on the leaderboard before withdrawing.

Though he had three top-10 finishes early in the season, he’s not finished better than T30 in the last five events. Wolff entered this week’s event at No. 25 on LIV Golf’s individual standings, just outside of earning a guaranteed spot on the circuit next season.

So Koepka, clearly fed up with Wolff, didn’t hold back on Thursday.

“I mean, when you quit on your round, you give up and stuff like that, that's not competing,” Koepka told Sports Illustrated on Thursday. “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.”

Brooks Koepka ripped LIV Golf teammate Matthew Wolff on Thursday for what he perceived was a lack of effort
Brooks Koepka ripped LIV Golf teammate Matthew Wolff on Thursday for what he perceived was a lack of effort. (Juan Luis Diaz/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) (Quality Sport Images via Getty Images)

Wolff cites past mental health struggles

Wolff, 24, got off to a very promising start on the PGA Tour before leaving for LIV Golf. Wolff won in just his fourth PGA start at the 3M Open in 2019. He held the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open in 2020, too, before finishing in second to Bryson DeChambeau.

But in 2021, Wolff started to struggle. He was disqualified from the Masters after signing an incorrect scorecard, and then he took a several month break from golf to focus on his mental health.

"Some of the feelings that I had were like getting up in the morning knowing I had to get out of bed and just like not being able to, being like, 'I don't want to get out of bed,'" he told Golf Digest in 2021. "I just want to stay in my bed and not be in front of everyone and not screw up in front of everyone.”

Wolff cited his past mental health struggles in his statement on Friday, too. Even though his golf game hasn't been great recently, Wolff said he feels good about the direction he's headed even with Koepka's opinions about him now out in the open.

“This has been quite difficult for me,” he said in a statement. “My challenges on and off the golf course with my mental health has been well documented. I deal with those challenges every day.

“However, while my 2023 season has not been all I had hoped for to this point, I have made positive strides in managing my life and feel like my game is turning for the positive … I’m moving forward and won’t ever give up on myself. While on course results may not appear now to be positive indicators, I’m trying to win an even bigger game with my life.”