Tiger Woods. Phil Mickelson.
If you had been questioning why an editorial at the 2023 PGA Championship started with the ones two names, it’s this: Because the flip of the century, the ones two are the one male skilled golfers to nab 5 or extra majors. Woods, in fact, has a whopping 13 to his credit score (he received two within the Nineteen Nineties), whilst Mickelson went from constant bridesmaid to six-time primary winner.
On Sunday at Oak Hill Nation Membership, Brooks Koepka has a golden alternative to turn into the 1/3 since 2000 to achieve 5 majors. Maintaining a one-shot lead at six-under, with Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners only one shot at the back of, the two-time PGA champion is the premier storyline going into the general around.
No longer best does Koepka have already got 4 majors in his again pocket, however the time since he received his final — the 2019 PGA Championship — makes the chase for a 5th all of the extra attention-grabbing.
There were the shut calls, in particular a runner-up end on the 2019 U.S. Open, a joint 2d on the 2021 PGA Championship, a joint fourth on the 2021 U.S. Open and a joint 2d eventually month’s Masters. The ones performances served as consistent reminders of Koepka’s exceptional prowess within the recreation’s largest occasions.
Then again, for a person who notched 4 majors in lower than two years, additionally they served as longing reminders of what as soon as was once. Koepka, together with his steely demeanor, workmanlike method and an innate talent to hollow the snatch putts, was once as soon as golfing’s maximum feared nearer. However now, there may be scar tissue, with the private wound coming only some weeks in the past. Koepka held a four-shot lead heading into the marathon Sunday at Augusta Nationwide in April, however around the ultimate 30 holes, he transformed simply 4 birdies and ended 4 pictures in need of Jon Rahm.
In 2019, Koepka might rather well have cruised to victory, however the recreation has added extra stars since. With the drive that includes being at the mountaintop, each successive triumph turns into fractionally harder. Plus, there are the bodily and psychological illnesses that experience troubled the Florida State alumnus. From 2019 till 2021, Koepka handled hip problems and critical knee issues, present process more than one surgical procedures for the latter.
All the way through the second one episode of the debut season of “Complete Swing” (taped final season), the Netflix collection on males’s skilled golfing, Koepka lamented the results of his accidents and next lack of self belief. He even informed his interior circle, “I’m going to be truthful with you, I will be able to’t compete with those guys week in and week out,” a shocking admission from one of the most (at worst) 4 best possible avid gamers of the decade — Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth being the opposite 3.
Neatly, within the final two majors, Koepka has confirmed the other. He can certainly duke it out with “those guys” and continues to be a power to seem out for at the hardest setups, with essentially the most drive, in opposition to the most powerful fields.
Duking it out is something. Koepka informed Jason Sobel of Motion Community after his third-round 66 that majors are “how your legacy is outlined,” and that one merely has to “attempt to win as many as you’ll.”
Neatly, this is your probability, Brooks. An opportunity so as to add in your legacy and sign up for the 2 best possible avid gamers of the twenty first century. An opportunity to turn out that the unmistakable greatness continues to be bottled up within.
An opportunity at historical past.