Brooks Koepka must have one of those United Nations passports, filled with a maze of colorful stamps from faraway lands seen only in history books and travel brochures.
He hasn’t been to Nepal.
Give him time.
I’m not sure if they play a golf tournament in Timor-Leste, but if there happens to be one around a certain country in Southeast Asia anytime soon, you can bet the 23-year-old Koepka will discover it.
It’s not his goal to tee off on every continent, but rather a necessity as the three-time All-American from Florida State chases the dream of playing the PGA Tour on a full-time basis.
For now, having competed in 15 or so countries in the past year has him better appreciating those small but indispensable luxuries we often take for granted.
You know, like a hamburger and feathered pillow.
“A late-night snack, a comfortable bed, being able to watch television in English,” Koepka said. “It’s nice to be back in the States. When I left (college), I knew I was going to Europe. I tried (Q-School) here and missed, so I knew I would be overseas for at least six months. It didn’t faze me.
“It has been a fun journey so far. Different people, different cultures, different food. Learn to play with a rain jacket on and an umbrella. Different winds, different conditions, links golf. You name it.”
He ate horse in Kazakhstan and swam with sharks in South Africa.
Take that, Tiger.
Koepka shot par 71 Thursday to open the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin, leaving him 11 strokes off the lead of an event that for the first time in its history will award FedEx Cup points.
Postcards can’t offer the perfect conditions that were available to the field Thursday, when anyone who didn’t flirt with 5 under or lower had to feel an opportunity was missed.
It’s a stronger field than past years with playoff points now available, meaning the absence of former tournament host Justin Timberlake isn’t noticed in the least.
I did think the suggestion of local golf radio host Ron Gerrard — to have a wax figure of Timberlake driven around in a cart or on a dolly greeting fans until it melted — was brilliant.
It also would have been more face time than Timberlake gave the event in those five years his name was attached, and the wax figure wouldn’t have traveled with as many enablers. A win-win proposition.
As it is, the local PGA Tour stop remains compelling in a few ways.
1. Gary Dunwoody, completely out of his mind in the absolute best and most charming of ways, has returned as event chairman. He’s the character driving around in a cart wearing a fez. Love that guy.
2. The event remains a favorable option for a player such as Koepka to inch closer to realizing that PGA Tour dream.
He is in a similar position as Jordan Spieth a year ago, a talented kid almost straight out of college with no PGA Tour status. Spieth won the John Deere Classic in July, was named the tour’s Rookie of the Year last month and was a member of the American team that captured the Presidents Cup.
For now, Koepka would take an honest taxi driver in Kenya.
“I took a three-hour trip to a hotel there that should have probably only been 15 minutes,” he said. “I just wanted to get out of the (taxi) at the end. I didn’t care what I paid at that point.”
He is here because of his impressive play last week, when Koepka tied for third at the Frys.com Open. The better he plays, the more FedEx points he earns, the greater a chance he will reach Special Temporary Membership, which would enable him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
Spieth also went the route of Special Temporary status to winning on the tour. It happens.
Koepka knows how it feels to win, having done so on the Challenge Tour four times since September 2012, sort of the minor leagues of the European Tour: He is your defending champion of the Challenge de Catalunya, the Montecchia Open, the Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana and the Scottish Hydro Challenge.
I have no idea what any of that means. It might as well be the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Rehab Challenge de Espana.
I do know this: If it is up to Koepka, he has taken his final taxi ride in Kenya.
“I’m OK playing overseas for now, but obviously want to be on the PGA Tour and with all the best players,” he said. “Good play takes care of itself. I just have to play well. I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be out here (on the tour) by the end of the year.”
Because you have to think that once you have eaten horse in Kazakhstan, it’s just never the same again.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.