Pebble Seashore – Brooks Koepka ought to have already got sufficient motivation for this U.S. Open. At stake is a shot at a U.S. Open report not touched in 104 years — three straight victories by Willie Anderson. On his thoughts was a Fox Sports activities preview that Koepka interpreted as one other instance of him not getting the credit score he deserves, one other chip on his broad shoulder, one other likelihood to show everybody unsuitable.
“A bunch of individuals on Twitter I feel tagged me in it — within the promo — and I suppose they had been amazed that I wasn’t in it,” Koepka stated Tuesday. “I simply clicked on the hyperlink and watched it. Simply form of shocked. They’ve had over a 12 months to form of put it out. So I don’t know. Anyone most likely obtained fired over it — or ought to.”
Fox had 4 U.S. Open promos, three of which included Koepka, certainly one of them devoted totally to Koepka and the historical past he can match. The opposite was totally about Tiger Woods, the Masters champion who returns to the scene of his report 15-shot victory at Pebble Seashore. Koepka wasn’t clear about what shocked him. If there may be any trigger for a beef within the Woods promo, it was speak about passing the torch to the subsequent technology and exhibiting photos of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth — however no Koepka.
He says it’s getting tougher for him to cover when he’s out in public. He can really feel eyes on him when he walks right into a restaurant, and he’s undecided why all of the fuss. “I simply view myself as an everyday man, identical to all people else,” he stated. “And I simply occur to be actually good at golf. And that’s it.”
It was arduous to not discover, possibly even recognize, the interview room. Solely six individuals attended his pre-tournament press convention final 12 months at Shinnecock Hills when he was the defending champion, though it was late on a Wednesday afternoon. This time, it was arduous to search out six empty seats.
Koepka has everybody’s consideration at Pebble Seashore. He has gained 4 of his final eight majors, a stretch of success solely Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan have equaled within the period of 4 majors. Even so, it’s one other title that enters the equation this week.
Koepka recollects seeing Anderson’s title on a constructing in Scotland final summer season, proper after he gained his second U.S. Open. By then, Koepka was vaguely conscious that the Scottish-born Anderson had gained the U.S. Open in 1903, 1904 and 1905. “I simply attempt to put that at the back of my thoughts,” Koepka stated in a tone practically as flat as his coronary heart fee. “It’s simply one other golf match. I’ve to exit and do what I’m imagined to do. It’s going to be a troublesome check this week — everyone knows that.”
4 gamers have had a shot at three straight U.S. Open titles since then. None got here significantly shut. The latest alternative fell to Curtis Unusual in 1990 at Medinah, the place a 68 introduced him inside two photographs of the lead till he pale to a 75 within the remaining spherical and tied for 21st. “He says it’s one other day, one other spherical, one other match,” Unusual stated. “It’s not. It’s the U.S. Open. He’s going for 3 in a row. However of anybody I’ve seen who walks the stroll, it’s Brooks Koepka. He goes about his enterprise in knowledgeable method daily.”
Koepka realizes historical past is towards him, and never simply because it has been 104 years since anybody gained a 3rd straight U.S. Open. The final participant to win any main three straight occasions was Peter Thomson within the British Open (1954-56). Take even a inventory PGA Tour occasion, and it has been eight years since Steve Stricker was the final to win the identical occasion three years in a row on the John Deere Basic.
Woods gained at the least three straight years six occasions in 5 tournaments (he had two stretches of three straight wins at Firestone). “I’m not fascinated with it,” Koepka stated. “I do know the chances are stacked up most likely much more towards me now to go three in a row than to again it up. It’s arduous to win the identical occasion 3 times in a row.”
Spieth obtained an in depth have a look at Koepka final month at Bethpage Black once they performed within the remaining group of the third spherical, when Koepka maintained his seven-shot lead with an even-par 70 because the course started to toughen. Spieth was on a roll like this a couple of years in the past. He gained the Masters and U.S. Open was shut within the different two majors of 2015. He misplaced a five-shot lead on the again 9 on the Masters the next 12 months. He gained the British Open in 2017.
“He could also be stoic on the golf course. I feel that’s his stage of confidence that he has and his stage of focus that he’s been on,” Spieth stated. “That mentality on the golf course appears to be coming from the boldness in each swing that he’s making. I’ve been in comparable conditions. And it’s actually enjoyable. And it’s additionally typically much more tough to remain as centered as he’s been capable of do.”
Spieth doesn’t like to listen to phrases like Koepka being on a run as a result of it speaks extra of excellent fortune than merely good golf. “This isn’t only a run. That is who he’s,” Spieth stated. “And he’s going to be a power to be reckoned with for many years. So get used to it.”