It took his main championship complete from the hefty 4 that had held agency for 4 lengthy, attempting, injury-addled years and upped it to 5, alongside such shiny lights as Seve Ballesteros and amongst solely 20 males with at the very least that many. It made him the one participant with that many since 1990 past Tiger Woods (15) and Phil Mickelson (six). It took his complete of PGA Championship wins to 3, greater than anybody else within the stroke play period besides Woods (4) and Jack Nicklaus (5).
Brooks Koepka wins fifth main title, a symbolic increase for LIV Golf
It even made this 33-year-old Floridian into one thing of an actual New Yorker — it turned his third main title on three completely different programs on this state, counting these Lengthy Island bullies Shinnecock Hills and Bethpage Black. It even made him the primary participant to win a serious whereas taking part in on the toddler LIV Golf circuit, the Saudi-backed cash bonanza.
Past numbers, it reintroduced the concept of the largeness of Koepka’s guts, which completed their work after a tap-in on No. 18 and gave approach to a huge smile. The winner had performed the final three rounds in 66-66-67, completed at 9 below par and bested Viktor Hovland, who challenged nearly all day lengthy earlier than touchdown at 7 below, and Scottie Scheffler, who challenged late earlier than additionally touchdown at 7 below.
“It feels damned good,” Koepka stated after 4 years and not using a main title, quick for many however maybe lengthy for him. “Yeah, this one is unquestionably particular. I believe this one might be probably the most significant of all of them with every little thing that’s gone on, all of the loopy stuff over the previous couple of years. But it surely feels good to be again — and to get quantity 5.”
He had so much to cope with on a day when the loudest booms got here from PGA membership professional Michael Block’s hole-in-one on No. 15, adopted by Block’s extraordinary up-and-down on No. 18 to snare him a share of 15th place and a spot within the 2024 PGA Championship. However Koepka resumed the strain prowess that marked his run from 2017 to 2019, when he received 4 of 9, and he discontinued his odd pratfalls of Sundays, which puzzled onlookers on the 2020 and 2021 PGA Championships and the 2023 Masters. His closing 75 at Augusta Nationwide saved him up all evening, he stated, but additionally appeared to gas what occurred at Oak Hill, a 7,394-yard course redesigned by Andrew Inexperienced into some type of main equity museum.
Gap-in-one and fairy-tale end make Michael Block the star of the PGA
“I’m more than happy with what I took from it,” he stated of the Masters. “I’m happy with the honesty I used to be capable of get into” — particularly, he stated, in a chat along with his greatest pal and brother’s caddie who, he stated, “ripped into me.” All of it introduced him “again to having an opportunity each time I tee it up,” he stated, a throwback to his hovering confidence of the late 2010s earlier than knee surgical procedure in March 2021 and a protracted and winding restoration from similar.
The conclusion that regarded foregone early on after which misplaced its foregone-ness turned foregone once more at No. 16, the place Koepka stood at 9 below and Hovland at eight below. It got here with a dud. It got here with a 9-iron that traveled 17 toes in a fairway bunker and smacked towards the bunker wall.
It didn’t come from Koepka, in fact.
It got here from Hovland, the 25-year-old Norwegian by means of Oklahoma State who has spent the previous three main Sundays across the thick of competition. All day lengthy, Hovland performed alongside Koepka and scored just about alongside Koepka, often lurking inside one shot whereas generally drifting to 2 and utilizing some beautiful iron play to extract himself from thickets.
Now, simply as he regarded poised to make his first laborious cost at a serious title, he whacked one which embedded into the bunker lip, foretelling the double bogey that ensued. “Simply didn’t get out of the bunker, plugged in lip, tried to get a drop and made a double bogey,” Hovland summarized with lasting disappointment.
He stated, “I felt like I performed actually stable.”
And he stated, “However Brooks was laborious to catch.”
And he stated, “He’s not going to present you something, and I didn’t actually really feel like I gave him something, both — till 16.”
Sensing the prospect to slam the door, Koepka plied his unusual expertise for slamming doorways. Having stood over there for whereas as Hovland sorted out the lie and the foundations associated to the lie, Koepka rapidly shipped an method from 157 yards to Four toes eight inches. His birdie would take him to 10 below, and Hovland’s double would take him to six below.
The match had ended earlier than it ended, and the Koepka method joined his tapestry of mastery all through the day. That would come with the 163-yarder to 4 toes on No. 2, the 212-yarder to 4 toes on the par-Three No. Three and the 95-yarder to 9 toes on No. 4. Then, in his second exhibition on clinching, after bogeys on Nos. 6 and seven howled at a person who had made just one within the earlier 30 holes, Koepka rolled in a nerveless eight-footer for birdie on No. 10, a likely 11-footer for birdie on No. 12 and a two-putt birdie after smacking it confidently to the inexperienced on the par-Four No. 14.
A par putt on No. 13 may need exceeded all of them for sheer audacity amid strain as a result of there Koepka’s clunker from 136 yards left him 61 toes from the opening earlier than he hit it previous to 10 toes, earlier than he rolled in that 10-footer downhill with none obvious horror.
He had steadied himself once more whereas others wobbled extra — Bryson DeChambeau with an even-par 70 to complete at Three below, Rory McIlroy with a 69 for two below, Justin Rose with a 71 to complete at 1 below. He regarded once more like that imperturbable type who may solely inform of the 2 years of wobbles that preceded.
“It’s been a protracted street,” he stated of his restoration from a grisly dislocated kneecap. “… I do know I look like this large, dangerous, robust man on the golf course that doesn’t smile, doesn’t do something, however in case you catch me off the golf course, I’ll let you understand what’s occurring.” He had carried out simply that on a actuality present the place he spoke of his self-doubts, and he stated retirement “undoubtedly sort of crossed my thoughts,” and now he had traveled all the way in which again to himself, the good clincher.