In one of the most exciting weeks of the PGA Tour season, Brooks Koepka captured his 2nd major of 2018 shooting a record -16 at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri to win golf’s final major of the year. This marks Koepka’s 3rd major in 14 months, after claiming the past 2 US Opens at Erin Hills in 2017 and Shinnecock Hills this past June. With the win, Koepka moves to 2nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, just behind Dustin Johnson. Justin Thomas, who recently ascended back to #2 following a win at the WGC Bridgestone last week, will drop to #3 and Justin Rose will move to 4th. Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy will swap places at 5th and 7th, with Francesco Molinari remaining in 6th. The rest of the top-16 remains the same, and most notably Tiger Woods, who began the year in 656th, moves to 26th after his runner-up victory (he was outside the top-50 entering Thursday).
Koepka continued to do what he does best- driving the ball FAR and making timely putts. He was 2nd this week in driving distance averaging a hair over 324 yards. He averaged just 1.6 putts per green in regulation (6th) and hit 73%+ of both fairways and greens. Unsurprisingly, his scoring reflected his solid play- he finished 2nd in birdies or better (22) and tied for 1st in bogeys or worse (5). Koepka is one of only 5 players to win 3 majors before the age of 28 since World War II- Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. Koepka also shares his name on another list with Tiger and the Golden Bear as the only players, along with Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan, to win both the US Open and PGA Championship in the same year. Asked about the feat, the Florida State Seminole was taken aback, “I actually never thought about that. Three Majors at 28, I didn’t — it’s a cool feeling. It really is. You know, hopefully I can stay healthy. I’ve kind of had some trouble with that over the past two years, three years, whatever it was. Missed the British and then to miss Augusta. I think I’m much more disciplined now, so I should be able to play every Major, making sure my body’s healthy.”
Koepka added that golf is at a really exciting place heading into the FedEx Cup playoffs and then Ryder Cup, “I’m excited. I’m excited for the next few years. I mean, as fans — like I’m a fan of golf. You should be excited. I mean, Tiger’s come back. You look at what Dustin’s doing, Justin, Rory, Spieth — I mean, it’s a great time to be a golf fan. I can’t wait to duel it out with them over the next couple years or next however long.” In major starts since 2014, Koepka has finished in the top-15 11 times. Over the past 10 years, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the only other players to win multiple majors in a calendar year.
And while he only finished in second, it appeared every golfer on Sunday was asked about Tiger Woods and the crowds/roars that seemed to follow him throughout the week. Wearing his famous Sunday red and black, Woods was within one shot of the lead multiple times Sunday afternoon- though not as close as when he briefly held the lead at Carnoustie last month. An unfortunate drive on 17, which just missed landing in a creek but forced Woods to punch out, left fans with only hope as the playoffs and Ryder Cup come around the corner. A birdie on 18, followed by a signature Tiger fist pump, made Sunday at Bellerive one of the most hopeful moments of Tiger’s no decade long major drought. Asked about the role of the fans throughout the week, Tiger told the media, “Oh, the people here were so positive, the energy was incredible, but the positiveness of it all. Everyone was willing every shot that everyone hit. There was no negative comments, no one was jeering, no one was making snide remarks, everyone was just very positive. They’re excited, yeah. They sometimes pick sides, yes. But they were respectful. And that’s, I wish we could play in front of crowds like this every single week because this is a true pleasure.”
But in January of 2018, Tiger didn’t envision the sea of people nor their vicious roars when he was still rehabbing from spine-fusion surgery. “I didn’t know what the number was going to be this year. I didn’t know how I was going to play. And so at the beginning of the year, if you would say, yeah, I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I, with what swing? I didn’t have a swing at the time. I had no speed. I didn’t have a golf swing. I didn’t have — my short game wasn’t quite there yet. My putting was okay. But God, I hadn’t played in two years. So it’s been a hell of a process for sure.”
This week marks the final event for the PGA Tour’s regular season as many will look to crack the top-125 at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, headlined by Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and 2017 champ Henrik Stenson.
Make sure to keep it locked in on The Wrightway Network for all you golf coverage needs. Following the Wyndham Championship COO Austin Meo & CMO Jake Rona will be LIVE from the Northern Trust Open Tuesday, Thursday & Friday at the 1st round of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs at Ridgewood Country Club in Bergen County, New Jersey.