ST. LOUIS – Brooks Koepka is the fifth participant to win each the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open in the identical season. While you throw in his 2017 U.S. Open victory, that’s three main wins in 14 months.
Will Koepka lastly get the respect that he feels he deserves with these accomplishments?
“I hope so,” he merely stated, earlier than wanting away to reply a unique query.
Koepka, 28, has used perceived disrespect as gas as he’s blossomed into top-of-the-line gamers on the PGA Tour. That was evident in one other reply a couple of minutes later throughout his press convention following his 2-stroke win over Tiger Woods within the 100th PGA Championship.
“No. I don’t care what anybody else says,” Koepka stated about anybody outdoors of his internal circle. “You’re at all times going to have followers and also you’re at all times going to have those that hate you. The individuals round me, they know who I’m and that’s actually all I care about. I like to achieve out to the followers and have help. I believe it’s at all times nice to have the help of followers and get as many individuals as you may behind you. … There’s at all times going to be those that hate you however you’ve simply bought to maneuver on with it and use it as motivation.”
There was a whole lot of motivation obtainable Sunday at Bellerive. Koepka entered the day two strokes forward of anybody else. Tiger Woods was 4 strokes again. As Woods made strikes on the entrance 9 and pulled nearer and nearer, Koepka — and each different golfer on the course — took discover. There was one and just one fan favourite on Sunday.
“Everyone on the golf course heard it,” Koepka stated in regards to the cheers for Woods. “It was really fairly humorous. You would hear the roars whenever you had been on 10 and 11 after which you may form of hear it trickle down as they modify the leaderboards. Right through you may hear a unique roar each three seconds.
“So we knew what was occurring and it was fairly apparent when Tiger makes a birdie, all people on the golf course hears the roar.”
As Woods strode to the 10th tee field Sunday afternoon he had simply pulled inside a shot of Koepka. He stood just a little taller and straighter. His face was expressionless and his eyes seemed straight forward, like he was taking a look at one thing nobody else might see.
Koepka didn’t see that. He didn’t need to. He knew what was up. He was staring over a birdie putt on No. Eight when he heard the roars after Woods moved to 11-under with a birdie at No. 9. Had Koepka missed, he would have been only one stroke forward of Woods.
He drained the putt for a two-shot lead. He hit one other on No. 9 for a three-shot lead and a run of three-straight birdies. Koepka was thriving within the position of the foil.
“To birdie 7-8-9 was form of a giant momentum shift for me I felt like, particularly with Tiger making that run at that very same time,” Koepka stated.
Koepka recalled attending the British Open as a child and listening to the gallery response to Woods. Whereas this was his first time dueling with Woods in a serious, he understood that he was going to be enjoying the position of the foil, even because the event chief. And who is aware of, possibly he used that for motivation, too.
“Being part of that as a fan, and even whenever you’re enjoying it’s nonetheless fairly neat,” Koepka stated. “It form of pushes you to step up your sport and it’s important to, as a result of he’s proper there if you happen to fold.”
Koepka opened the again 9 with 4 pars to remain at 14-under, and one other rival emerged. His enjoying companion Adam Scott made three birdies in that very same stretch to tug right into a tie for first. In the meantime, Woods bought to inside a shot. And the roars bought louder.
Koepka didn’t fold. He birdied No. 15 for a one-shot lead after which hit his tee-shot on the 237-yard par-3 16th to inside seven toes.
“That’ll in all probability go down as top-of-the-line photographs I’ve ever hit underneath stress,” Koepka stated.
He made the birdie to maneuver to 16-under and transfer two photographs forward of everybody else. That’s the place he stayed, as Scott missed a birdie on 17.
As Koepka strolled in the direction of that 17th inexperienced, the roars occurred for a ultimate time as Woods birdied No. 18 to complete at 14-under par. Koepka neared the inexperienced because the cheers for Woods ended. He bought well mannered applause. There have been no yells.
If Koepka retains this up, the yells are on their manner. His two main wins in 2018 are much more spectacular when you think about he had simply three makes an attempt. He missed the Masters in April due to a wrist damage. He watched the event from residence.
That point watching the Masters was, you guessed it, used as extra motivation. Koepka stated he was “down” whereas sitting on the sofa at residence watching the event.
“I’ve by no means been extra centered, extra pushed, extra excited to play and actually embracing what’s round me,” Koepka stated.
“I really feel like I’ve accomplished an excellent job of that once I’ve come again, and I simply must maintain that up as a result of, clearly, it’s working.”
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a author for Yahoo Sports activities.