Serial major winner Koepka made to wait for US PGA Championship three-peat
- Brooks Koepka remains an underappreciated talent but that snub is the fuel that drives him on, writes Stats Perform's Russell Greaves.
Brooks Koepka would have been gearing up for a US PGA Championship three-peat this week.
Based on the form he hit at majors from 2017 to 2019, it's not too far-fetched to suggest a global pandemic is one of the very few things that could have prevented him from achieving the feat.
His is a curious CV. Of the seven wins at PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments to his name, four have been major triumphs.
This is a man who cuts to the chase, in deeds and in words.
Speaking ahead of his US PGA Championship defence at Bethpage Black last year, Koepka declared: "I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win."
Nobody says that. It's doubtful anyone even thinks that, Koepka included, but he went ahead and said it anyway.
Delivering that line, absent any irony, spoke as much to the American's strengths as any crunching drive he has ever hit, or nerveless put he has sunk.
It shone a light on his mental fortitude, a character trait forged by the fierce heat of his own burning desire to have his achievements recognised.
You see, for all his relentless brilliance at his last 10 major outings – he added four top-six finishes alongside his quartet of wins – Koepka has never been elevated to the kind of stardom enjoyed some of his less successful contemporaries.
Dustin Johnson, who won his first and to date only major a year before Koepka got off the mark, boasts a higher profile and greater name recognition beyond the sport, as does Jordan Spieth, who hasn't won a major since 2017 and now resides 56th in the world rankings.
He can't match Rory McIlroy's global appeal, and as for competing with Tiger Woods for the spotlight, forget it.
That he has not been extended an invitation to join the golfing glitterati is a curious snub, but one that appears to have served him well, instilling in Koepka a hunger that has fuelled his voracious appetite for success.
Without it, he would be neither the man nor golfer he is today.
It’s good to be Brooks Koepka. pic.twitter.com/0P8euHNIq4— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 20, 2019
And if any of his rivals hoped a flurry of landmark victories would sate his craving for silverware, they gravely underestimated the extent of his ambition.
Asked in the aftermath of his win at Bethpage how many majors he might accumulate, Koepka replied: "Double digits, easy! I don't see why I can't get to double digits."
Well, they are the easiest ones to win.