Brooks Koepka took home the Wanamaker trophy on Sunday, and while every major championship win is something special, this one has a little bit more to it. First of all, this is Koepka’s second major title this year after he won the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club back in June, which only five players have ever done. And to make that even more of an amazing feat only three players, including Koepka, have won the PGA Championship and U.S. Open in the same year in the last seventy years! Who are the other two you might ask? The answer is none other than Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Now I don’t know about you, but I think Brooks has found himself in some pretty good company.
Brooks has now also proven to be a major championship monster. Of his four PGA Tour wins in his career, three of them have come from majors. That’s 75% of his wins coming from major championships! Also, in the past two years, he’s only competed in six majors and he has taken home three wins, adding up to a 50% success rate in these big-time tournaments. That’s just incredible.
However, it really is no wonder that he’s won at the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship given his history at both events. In my opinion, Brooks hasn’t received the recognition he deserves in regards to his records at these events. Just in case you didn’t know, this is how he’s placed in each tournament from the start of his PGA Tour career in 2012 to his win this past weekend. In the 2012 U.S. Open, he missed the cut, but this would be the first and only time he wouldn’t make it into the tournament. In fact, this would be the only time he didn’t finish in the top-20. In 2013 he didn’t attempt to qualify, but from 2014 to 2018 he finished T-4, T-18, T-13, first, and first again, respectively. Even though he just got his first victory at this event, his track record at the PGA Championship is astonishing. Koepka has never missed a cut at the PGA Championship. His first appearance at this major was back in 2013 when he finished T-70, but from 2014 to 2018 he accumulated five top-20’s with three top-10’s by finishing T-15 in 2014, T-5 in 2015, T-4 in 2016, T-13 in 2017, and winning this year. That’s an impressive streak, and it was only a matter of time before he took the trophy home.
Even though this has been a historic weekend for Brooks, it’s gone almost overlooked because many golf fans have had their eyes set on the accomplishment of another player. That player’s name is Tiger Woods. Tiger fired a 6-under par final round on Sunday to finish 14-under for the tournament and come in second place. This is now the second major in a row that Tiger has finished in the top-10, and many people are starting to think that Tiger has, in fact, made a comeback. I was honestly hesitant to believe that he had come back when it was the talk of the Tour after his T-6 finish at The Open because Tiger had the lead at one point in the final round and then, due to not being able to keep his ball in the fairway, he couldn’t stop dropping shots. But now, after seeing this PGA Championship performance, I can finally say that I do believe that Tiger is back.
Tiger’s final round of a 6-under score of 64 is the lowest he’s shot in the final round of a major in his career. He looked like vintage Tiger again. He didn’t look stiff, tired, or sore. He looked like his old self. We saw him fist pump, point his putter in the air when he knew he’d hit it perfectly, dial his irons in, and for the most part, hit really good drives. Even when he hit a wild tee shot, he displayed his creativity and athleticism by hitting shots that only he could. Even though he came up just short again, we got to see the Tiger that we love stalk down a lead on Sunday wearing red, and it made me feel like a kid again. With all of that being said, I think that he still has enough gas in the tank to get another major win, and I definitely believe that we will see another Tour victory from the Big Cat himself sometime soon.
This was such a great tournament, and props to Brooks for being able to hold off one of the greatest players to ever play the game of golf and get the win. Would it have been awesome to see Tiger take this one home? Absolutely. But I won’t let that take anything away from Brooks because he has been grinding this season, and his whole career, for a moment like this. So congratulations to Brooks Koepka for winning the 2018 PGA Championship, but watch out because next time you might not be able to outrun the Tiger.