BLAINE, Minn. -- Brooks Koepka called the killing of George Floyd a "pathetic" act as he prepares to headline the first major sporting event in the Minneapolis area since that tragedy.
Koepka and other pro golfers will participate in the 3M Open this week in Blaine, Minnesota, just 20 miles from the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where Floyd was killed when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than seven minutes on Memorial Day.
"Obviously, it was tragic," Koepka said Tuesday during the pre-event news conference. "It's pathetic what happened. To see somebody's life to go and you watch it multiple, multiple times. It's tough. I get chills right now, just even thinking about it. What happened is uncalled for."
Chauvin, who was fired, is in a Minnesota prison and facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Minneapolis officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao have all been charged with aiding and abetting murder for their role in Floyd's killing.
Koepka is one of the top golfers in this week's 3M Open field. The 2019 PGA Championship winner has struggled this year while dealing with a knee injury. In nine events this season, he has one top-25 finish and no victories.
Koepka said, however, his left knee felt great in Sunday's final round of The Memorial Tournament, where he finished tied for 62nd place. He said going downhill "is a pain."
"Sunday was the best my knee has felt in a really long time," said Koepka, who underwent an MRI on his left knee prior to The Memorial Tournament last week.
He added: "It's not an excuse as to why I've been playing bad. I can tell you that."
For the golfers, the 3M Open is another tune-up for next month's PGA Championship. But it's also the first major sporting event in the Twin Cities since Floyd's death. In this area, it's a constant topic.
Koepka said he believes the events that have followed Floyd's death, however, have led to positive developments.
"If there is anything good, we're starting to see change and I think that's important," he said. "As a world, as people, we need to continue to grow. We're at least bringing light to it now. Racism is a big issue and I think we're on our way now. People are becoming more vocal. Everyone is becoming more vocal and I think it's very important. And it's definitely showing."