The facial features and muscular build shared by Dothan resident and current Florida Atlantic University golfer B.J. Morrison and PGA Tour star Brooks Koepka are striking.
“ About a year ago we were in the Atlanta airport and I was just walking down the airport looking for something to eat,” Morrison says. “I had my NIKE hat on, I had my Titleist book bag on, and someone taps on my shoulder and I turn around and they say, ‘Can I get your autograph?’
“ I was like, ‘Yeah sure, but why?’ And they said, ‘You’re Brooks Koepka, aren’t you?’ And I said, ‘No. I’ve heard that before — I hear that a lot — but it’s not me.’”
Not so surprising, Morrison is a fan of his body double.
“ My coach actually teaches Brooks Koepka and my first lesson with him he told me the next time Brooks is in for a lesson, he wants me to come down and get a picture together,” Morrison said. “He’s my favorite golfer. He’s awesome. We share a lot in common. Golf obviously. He loves to work out, so we have that in common.”
Morrison developed a passion for working out after taking a brief hiatus from golf during his ninth grade year at Providence Christian.
“ I started playing football for Providence my ninth grade year and that really sparked my love to work out,” Morrison said. “Even though I stopped playing football, I continued to work out. I always try to better myself on and off the golf course.
“ When I got to FAU, we have our own personal strength coach. He helped me a lot on my strength and my power but maintaining my flexibility for golf, because that’s a big thing.”
At 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, Morrison can really rip the golf ball with his increased strength.
“ I actually gained about 15 yards and six miles per hour club speed, which helped a lot,” Morrison said. “It’s been a big difference ever since I’ve been there.”
Morrison joined the FAU golf team during the second semester of this past school year and made an immediate impact by leading the team in earning a top 20 finish during the first tournament of the spring — the prestigious Tiger Invitational held in Auburn.
“ That’s a really big college tournament,” Morrison said. “There were a lot of good schools there, so I was very happy about that. After that tournament my confidence was high enough to carry me throughout the rest of the season.”
There had been a pit stop along his journey to Boca Raton, Fla., which is where FAU of Conference USA is located.
Morrison didn’t play for Providence Christian or in the hometown Press Thornton Future Masters during his senior season, instead opting to play on various junior golf circuits throughout the spring and summer.
All along, Morrison had the goal of playing college golf, but he just didn’t know where.
“ I actually took a semester off after high school, trying to figure out where I was going to go and which college was right for me,” Morrison said. “I was talking with a lot of schools and then I met my coach now who was currently at Stanford. We have a great chemistry. He’s a younger guy, so we get along well.”
Ryan Jamison, who was an assistant at Stanford, left to become the new head coach at FAU in June of 2018. Morrison got back in touch with him.
“ I used to live in Boca Raton, Fla.,” Morrison said. “I was born there and we moved when I was 2 years old. We have a lot of family down there and I always thought about Florida Atlantic.
“ One day I got in contact with coach Ryan, who was moving from Stanford to Florida Atlantic. We talked on the phone and I sent him some videos of my swing. We got together and he watched me play in a few tournaments. From there he was like, ‘OK, I want you to come to Florida Atlantic and play for me.’ Ever since then we have a great bond. Even outside of the golf course we are close.”
Morrison signed with FAU in October and started school in January. It wasn’t all smooth once he arrived to campus.
His golf instructor away from college, Claude Harmon III, wanted to make some changes in his swing. Harmon is a big name as a teacher on the PGA Tour.
“ When I first got to FAU I struggled a lot,” Morrison said. “My coach (Harmon) wanted me to take on some swing changes. He teaches Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler — all the big guys. He started doing a lot of things with my golf swing. He said he wanted to do it now, because if I did it later in my golf career, I was going to struggle.
“ So I struggled a lot before I started my golf season. We had tryouts to see who was going to travel. By the time our first tournament came around, I was starting to figure out my new swing. He changed a lot in the takeaway of my golf swing and I also did a grip change, which he described as one of the hardest things to do in golf.
“ He did a grip change with Rickie Fowler. It took me about two months to get that (new grip) down, but by the time our first tournament came around, which was in Auburn, I ended up being No. 1 on my team and got a top 20 finish.”
Morrison went on to have a solid first year at FAU and is spending time between Dothan and Florida this summer refining his skills.
“ I’m playing some tournaments in Florida, some in Georgia, so I’m kind of scattered around,” Morrison said before a recent practice round at Highland Oaks.
He’s content being back on the golf course competing.
“ I took a year off my ninth grade year and during that break I realized golf is what I loved and I wanted to do it,” Morrison said. “The transition back into golf was really tough, but I worked hard. I knew that’s what I wanted to do after high school.”
Just like Brooks Koepka.