Matthew Wolff is on the far end of the driving range, alone, slowly making his way through a bucket of golf balls at London's Centurion Club, hours away from the final round of the ninth LIV Golf event of 2023.
Beside him is Troy Mullins, the female professional golfer who is also part of the LIV Golf broadcast team, hitting balls as well. Music blares out from the speakers nearby: The War on Drugs.
For Wolff, these last few years he's had a war with himself. Mainly with his mind. He twitches, as he does, then sends one down the range towards the 200-yard target. He repeats this process multiple times and, one by one, his TP5x appears to find the intended destination.
These golf shots don't offer the type of impression that suggest he is struggling with his game. Stripe city. But after finishing up his range session, he walks back to the players' area with his head bowed. He looks forlorn. A visible change in body language than when he arrived.
Perhaps for good reason, too, as only days before Brooks Koepka went after the 24-year-old in a devastating verbal attack.
"I've basically given up on him," 33-year-old Koepka told SI without Wolff's knowledge.
Chief of Koepka's complaints was that he accused Wolff of not working hard, quitting during tournament rounds, breaking clubs and having terrible body language.
"A lot of talent," Koepka added. "But I mean, the talent's wasted."
For his part, Wolff offered a short statement. He said it would be 'the only time' he would comment.
"I think we all know these comments should have been handled much differently," Wolff said.
I'm inclined to agree.
Who knows, maybe this was Koepka trying to rally his teammate, to instil a 'F you, I'll show you' attitude in Wolff.
Or maybe we should take Koepka at his word.
This tension has been bubbling for a while. According to @flushingit, Koepka is keen on early morning workouts.
During LIV Golf's event in Washington in May, two players from Smash withdrew before the final round: Wolff and Jason Kokrak.
It was claimed that this was as a result of injuries incurred during the gym session.
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Who knows if that is true, but if it is perhaps Koepka should think twice before making these types of comments in public.
It should also be noted that Koepka's brother Chase hasn't come in for the same treatment as Wolff.
Through eight events, the younger Koepka, 29, hasn't exactly lit up the LIV Golf League, having only posted one top-10 finish since he joined the breakaway.
In 2023, Chase's best finish came in Tucson where he came 39th out of 48.
Now you might point out that behind the scenes Chase could be the hardest of workers, who occupies good body language and is up for the early morning workouts.
But from the evidence I have seen from Wolff this week, he is anything but and is keen to turn his form around. Yet like many professionals before him, he just doesn't know how.
And the result is that you just have a troubled young man.
It was also interesting to see Koepka expressing annoyance that Wolff has history for breaking clubs when things aren't going well.
Well, we'll leave this here:
It doesn't look like Brooks will be hitting any more drivers today... pic.twitter.com/oKklc5a1hU— Skratch (@Skratch) February 24, 2017
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