Monday, 19 November, 2018

US PGA: Brooks Koepka driven by recognition of his success

Major player Brooks Koepka with his girlfriend Jena Sims and the Wanamaker Trophy Major player Brooks Koepka with his girlfriend Jena Sims and the Wanamaker Trophy
Shannon Reynolds | 14 August, 2018, 21:55

The charge by Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship and the two-shot victory by Brooks Koepka drew the highest final-round coverage for the major in nine years.

That could be about to change after Sunday's success.

Tiger Woods last won a major golf title in June 2008, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff at Torrey Pines to win the US Open.

The attention is something he doesn't necessarily crave, and yet sometimes he feels he deserves more.

Shane Lowry, meanwhile, jumped seventeen placed to 139 on the Fedex Cup standings following his performance in the PGA Championship. I like to be the person that's not really recognized. "Yet again, you can't hide when you do certain things", Koepka told CNN Sport.

From Walter Hagen to Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods many of golf's greats have hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy but it has never carried the same prestige as slipping into a Green Jacket or kissing the Claret Jug.

And as US Open champion Koepka collected his second major of the year, Tiger Woods also left us in no doubt that he will also be part of Jim Furyk's American team.

"What's important is how well Tiger has played", Furyk said.

He's had multiple back surgeries, and as recently as 11 months ago, wasn't able to swing a golf club.

"Oh, God, I didn't even know if I was going to play golf again, so yeah", he said.

Woods' hopes looked over after just two holes after he followed an opening-hole bogey with a double-bogey at the next, only for him to recover and card a level-par 70 on Thursday and back it up with a successive 66s. But the leader entering the final round was Woods.

Rory McIlroy's mood after the downbeat four-time major victor admitted his game had "regressed" from earlier in the season.

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"I can think of plenty of people along the way telling me I'll be nothing, working at McDonald's", Koepka told reporters Tuesday at Bellerive.

When it was done, Woods had a warm hug and a huge smile for the guy he calls "Brooksy". You're always trying to prove somebody wrong.

While Spieth, Thomas or Rickie Fowler manage to engage with the public, Koepka finds it harder to open up.

"I'm not the best with words". I'll leave you with this. I let you fully in. His game is trending and it is great to see him playing well. "I'm trying to work on it, I really am".

Woods has reiterated his desire to play, although he also wishes to fulfil a dual role and keep the job of vice-captain.

Former world number one Woods finished 11th in the USA standings, not among the eight players who qualified automatically after the PGA Championship.

At Shinnecock, before teeing off in the final round, his program involved bench pressing 225 pounds 14 times.

"I am so excited to see him playing well, competing", Furyk said. "He didn't just have the driving, he had the iron game, he had the putting and made some key up-and-downs".

Koepka admits he doesn't show much emotion, but says that's a deliberate move to counter his youthful temper.

"It's just because I'm so focused". It is a remarkable run for a player who has lived most of his golfing life somewhat below the radar.

In the search for two shots that could've made the difference, one could point to the bad drive on 17, the agonizing miss on 11 or a 12-foot putt to save par that went halfway in but rimmed out on No. 14 and briefly halted his momentum. I mean, walking with players.

He traveled widely, from Kenya to Kazakhstan, learning his trade, gaining life experiences and growing up.

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