Tiger is Back Strong, But Koepka Holds Him Off at Bellerive
Brooks Koepka, 28 anni, is impossible to overlook now, winning the PGA Championship Sunday with precision to go with his back-to-back US Open titles.
And it still sounded like he received 2nd billing to iconic champion Tiger Woods.
With roars for Tiger unheard anywhere this side of Augusta National, Bruce Koepka kept his cool and ran off 2 birdies on the back 9 at Bellerive in St. Louis, with Adam Scott tied for the lead and Tiger 1 shot off the pace.
But, Mr. Koepka closed with a 4-under 66 for a 2-shot victory, making him only the 5th player to win the U.SOpen and PGA Championship in the same year.
“The crowds here, they let you know what’s going on,” Mr. Koepka said with a big grin. “The beginning of the back 9, I could hear all the roars. When Tiger started making his little run, and Scotty made his run, it got loud.”
Even with 2 bogeys, Tiger Woods shot 64 for his lowest final round in a major match.
“I played hard,” Mr. Woods said. “I made a bit of a run. It looks like I’m going to come up a little short.”
Mr. Koepka has won 3 of the last 6 majors he played, and 2 of 3 this year. He joined Mr. Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only players to win the 2 US majors that rotate to different courses in the same year.
He also joined Jordan Spieth, Woods, Nicklaus and Tom Watson as the only players with 3 majors before turning 30 since World War II.
The St. Louis fans waited 17 years to see Tiger Woods, the last was at Bellerive when the 9/11 terrorist attacks canceled a World Golf Championship, and he really delivered a performance that took golf back in time.
Taiger Woods was relentless, pumping fists, raising the putter in his left hand, making birdies and charging toward a finish that caused pure pandemonium among 1 of the largest and noisiest crowds at a major ever.
Notably, Messrs Woods and Koepka played 9 holes of a practice round Wednesday, and the 14-time major champion knew what he was up against.
“It’s tough to beat when the guy hits it 340 down the middle,” Mr. Woods said. “What he did at Shinnecock, just bombing it, and then he’s doing the same thing here. … And when a guy’s doing that and hitting it straight, and as good a putter as he is, it’s tough to beat.”
Bruce Koepka never imagined a year like this.
He missed 4 months at the start of the year when a partially torn tendon in his left wrist, causing him to sit out the Masters.
he joked about working out in a public gym this week with Dustin Johnson and not being recognized. He has been motivated by more serious moments, from being left off the “notable scores” section of TV coverage at tournaments and even last week, when he was not summoned for a TV interview to preview the PGA Championship.
He now is #2 in the Golf world.
Have a terrific week.