Brooks Koepka's "This is SportsCenter" commercials: An analysis
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Brooks Koepka’s “This is SportsCenter” commercials: An analysis



Brooks Koepka is a golf superstar. Embrace it. He’s won four majors in three seasons, is soundly ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and he has no problem running down slow players and other losers in golf.

When you reach that level of accomplishment, you’ve also earned a place in the sporting consciousness. People know who you are. And then comes the pinnacle of fame: shooting a “This is SportsCenter” ad (or two) for ESPN.

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[/s2If] [s2If is_user_logged_in()] Plenty of golfers have appeared in the long-running series of ads to promote ESPN’s signature highlights show. Some of the ads have been really good, including the Arnold Palmer spot where he makes a him in the ESPN cafeteria.

That *was* awesome!

For Brooks’ spot, the creative team decided to go back to the cafeteria for inspiration. Brooks and his caddie Ricky Elliott are sitting with SportsCenter anchors Matt Barrie (who does a golf podcast with Michael Collins) and Elle Duncan, enjoying some lunch. Magic is about to happen.

Koepka has apparently purchased an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which no other business in America would sell. Assessing the situation, Koepka gamely decides to combine the piece of bread slathered with the chunky peanut butter (smooth sucks) with the grape jelly.

Sensing the moment, Barrie gets Duncan’s attention as Koepka calls in Elliott for a read on how to cut the sandwich. The Ulsterman has determined his man should cut the sandwich diagonally, like a psychopath, and hands a butter knife to the world No. 1. Koepka then wipes the blade in his hand, as he does his putter blade before a putt, and then he cuts the PB and J like I rip through an Amazon box: with no regard for what’s inside. The bread breaks apart, and the meal is ruined.

The gathered gallery of onlookers applauds politely, but they know Koepka mangled it. Meanwhile, Koepka throws Elliott under the bus for the “bad read.” Hey buddy, your cut stunk!

This commercial was not good. The whole point of this is an inside-baseball callback to Koepka’s putting routine, but:

  • What adult cuts a PBJ?
  • Has Brooks Koepka never handled a knife?
  • Isn’t cutting a sandwich (if you must) meant to be a gentle art, like putting (if you must)?

They lost me on this one.

The good news is they did a second ad, which is apparently just meant to be seen through “digital platforms.” It’s much better.

In this spot, Koepka and Duncan are putting into a glass on the ground in the hallway at ESPN’s Bristol headquarters. Brooks has apparently come up short, and his ball is in Duncan’s line. He does the classy thing and marks his ball with a quarter. Meanwhile, Barrie is at a vending machine parallel to the action. Suddenly strapped for some coinage, he turns his eyes to the floor, finds Koepka’s quarterly and brazenly uses it to complete his drink purchase. Duncan and Koepka look gobsmacked.

My only problem with this spot is the vending machines themselves. Look at them! They’re from the 1980s, especially the one that vends out hot drinks. Oh my God do they remind me of the vending machines I used to beg my dad to give me money for when I had a snow delay and had to go to his work at the Chevy dealership. They have to be props, right? There’s no way ESPN would keep those relics out for public use.

Anyhow, it’s fun to have a golfer do something mainstream people will see, even if that means some hair-brained ideas.
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About the author

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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