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Monday, May 20, 2019

Brooks Koepka Is the Dominant Force in Golf

Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship on Friday. He had the field lapped and spent his final 36 holes just hanging. Not against the field but against a Bethpage Black course that decided that no records would be set on its watch.

Following his shocking rounds of 63 and 65 heading into the weekend, Koepka was able to survive the weekend while playing 4-over par. It was good enough to get him a 2-stroke victory over Dustin Johnson.

It got a lot closer than anyone expected as Koepka proved to be human on the back-9 on Sunday. A wind that turned a challenging course into a nightmare resulted in four consecutive bogies for Koepka allowing Johnson to briefly cut Koepka's 7-stroke lead down to just one.

In the end, Bethpage Black fought back against Johnson as well and Koepka found just enough game to get it home to win his fourth major in just his last eight attempts.

The number of records Koepka set, including becoming the only golfer to hold two back-to-back major titles at the same time, will be talked about some time to come. But, being golf, and with our new compressed schedule for the majors, it almost felt as if as soon as the final putt had fallen on Sunday folks already were pointing to this year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

There is a feeling that Brooks Koepka is not a fan favorite nor a favorite of the golf press. That's a real shame. We are watching a run of dominance in the only tournaments that truly matter anymore, the majors, that we haven't seen since Tiger woods over a decade ago.

Koepka is consistent with his message that he doesn't need to be loved in order to enjoy his life in the game. He makes it clear every time he's asked that the people he plays for are himself, his closes friends, and family. He is a professional doing his job to provide for his family. It's not that he has disrespect for the fans or the press. It just doesn't seem to be a priority for him to foster the love that a player like Phil Mickelson or Rickie Fowler receives.

Everything Koepka does, from his press work to signing autographs, to playing in pro-ams and his corporate commitments, feel like they are seen as simply part of the job. Is that fair? Probably not. But, since Koepka seems satisfied to maintain such a private posture it's truly hard to tell otherwise. It's hard not to assume that he's simply following the lead of Tiger Woods and how he handled his business during the height of his career.

How far Koepka will be able to take his current dominance is why we watch. This could just as easily be the last major he ever wins as another step along the way to becoming one of the game's greatest players.

As fans, maybe that should be enough to keep us happy.

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