When will golf recognize Brooks Koepka as one of the game’s all-time greats?
As Brooks Koepka tapped in the winning putt at the PGA Championship in New York, millions of golf enthusiasts around the world would have stared blankly at their TV screens in utter disbelief. How has he managed to do this again? How can he be so ordinary in normal PGA Tour events, but arrive at the Majors and blow everyone out the water? Those would have been a few of the thoughts running through the heads of punters around the globe as the Brooks Koepka major phenomenon carried on.
Koepka continuing to excel
Koepka now has as many major wins as Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy after he won the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and by doing so, took his financial returns to $8.5m in major events alone. Amazingly, there is yet to be a consensus that the Floridian is one of the greats of the game.
On June 18, 2017, @BKoepka won his first Major, the @usopengolf at Erin Hills. Today he captured his 4th major to join Ben Hogan, @jacknicklaus & @TigerWoods as the only players in the modern era to win 4 or more men's Major Championships in a span of 8 starts. pic.twitter.com/JW1tZiOr2e
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 20, 2019
This could well have something to do with the fact that Koepka has less PGA Tour wins than major victories but sadly, that rationale is so incredibly flawed and misguided. When all is said and done, a player is judged on how many majors they were able to win during their career which is why many still consider Jack Nicklaus a better player than Tiger Woods.
Whether you subscribe to that or not, the moment the golfing fraternity begins to find other yardsticks other than the majors to determine whether a player qualifies as a great or not is when the history of the sport will go up in flames. The playing of majors is the one thing that lets us all compare the players of today from the ones of yesteryear.
Where has McIlroy faltered?
If you have a look at the narrative around Rory McIlroy’s career compared to that of Brooks Koepka’s, it’s hard to see how one is considered a great and the other a one-hit wonder. It’s quite ludicrous really, especially when you take into account that Koepka has now successfully defended both the PGA Championship and US Open, the first man in the history of the sport to do so.
Rather modestly, Koepka has set himself a goal of winning 10 majors in his career but at the rate he is going, he will do that by the summer of 2021. A quick glance at his chances going into the year’s third major and there’s every possibility he will carry on his dominance.
At 7/1 in the latest golf odds for the US Open, Koepka goes in as the favourite to win the competition and by doing so, it would then take his major tally to five. More significantly, should he come out on top at Pebble Beach, he would have won a hat-trick of US Opens. A feat not even Tiger Woods would have ever been expected to do and one that has only ever been previously accomplished by Willie Anderson, back in 1905, some 114 years ago.
PGA Championship ??
U.S. Open ??
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 21, 2019
Koepka is an exceptionally laid back guy and the noise around him, or lack of it doesn’t seem to bother him in the slightest which is probably why he has been able to quietly go about his business with such devastation.
You may ask what is it going to take for the 29-year-old to be considered a great, but even if he was to retire now, he should be given the status of one of the finest the world has ever seen. With that in mind, the man from West Palm Beach is going nowhere anytime soon which may mean the likes of Nicklaus and Woods will have to do a cursory glance over their shoulders from time to time.