Koepka is Fast Becoming the Most Quotable Golfer on the Planet
YOU have just got to take your hat off to Brooks Koepka, who is fast becoming the most quotable golfer on the planet. He seems to have a view about anything and everything and his latest target is Rory McIlroy, who beat him to player of the year honours at the end of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season. It was a decision that surprised many. Yes, McIlroy won three times, including the Players Championship and Tour Championship, but he failed to seriously contend in any of the four majors.
Koepka, meanwhile, won the US PGA Championship and had chances to claim The Masters and the US Open for a third successive year. Since 2017 he has won four majors - the same number as McIlroy. The Northern Irishman has spoken about the pair having a rivalry that could dominate the game for the next four of five years. But Koepka has dismissed McIlroy’s claims.
As he rightly points out, it is more than five years since McIlroy won the most recent of his majors and he hasn’t done so since Koepka joined the PGA Tour in 2015. McIlroy has closed the gap on Koepka in the world rankings and is now second, but the American has no doubts about this own standing in the game.
"I'm not looking at anybody behind me. I'm number one in the world," he said. "I've got open road in front of me - I'm not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don't see it as a rivalry. I've been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour. You know if the fans do [call it a rivalry], then that's on them and it could be fun," added the world number one, who equalled McIlroy's tally of four major wins by successfully defending his US PGA Championship.
McIlroy's last major triumph came at the same event in 2014, although he did win the FedEx Cup this year and was also named player of the year by his fellow PGA Tour professionals. "Look, I love Rory. He's a great player and he's fun to watch, but it's just hard to believe there's a rivalry in golf. I just don't see it," said Koepka.
McIlroy, 30, claimed that he used a rivalry mentality to see off the American at the season-ending Tour Championship in August. Four weeks earlier, Koepka had outplayed McIlroy to win the World Golf Championship event in Memphis and the Northern Irishman said that he had been determined to avenge that defeat in the PGA Tour finale.
"He talked about trying to be the dominant player in the game and I thought: 'He's going to have to go through me first'," said McIlroy after his East Lake triumph. "If that's both of our mentalities going forward, I think that's good for the game."
In addition to retaining the US PGA title, Koepka was also runner-up at the Masters and US Open and shared fourth place at the Open Championship, with McIlroy's best major finish in 2019 an eighth place at the US PGA.
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