“There was a time when I couldn’t bend my knees at all.” The ‘major hunter’ who suffered from a knee injury returned with a confident step. Brooks Koepka (33, USA) once again lifted the major trophy. The title of the first major champion belonging to LIV Golf followed.
Koepka made 7 birdies in the final 4th round of the PGA (American Professional Golf Association) Championship (total prize money of 17.5 million dollars), the second major tournament of the season, which ended on the 22nd (Korean time) at Oak Hill CC (par 70) in Rochester, New York, USA. He shot a 3-under-par 67 with 4 shots. With a final total of 9 under par 271 strokes, he beat Viktor Hovlan (Norway) and Scotty Scheffler (USA, 7 under par 273 strokes), who tied for second place, by two strokes, and achieved his ninth win on the PGA Tour. The winning prize is 3.15 million dollars (approximately 4.18 billion won).
From 2017 to 2019, the PGA Tour was the era of Koepka. Koepka won six victories during this period alone, including two wins at the US Open (2017/2018) and two wins at the PGA Championship (2018/2019). The number of major wins was 4 out of 6 wins. With this victory, he filled 5 of his 9 PGA Tour careers with major trophies, and became the 20th player in history to win 5 or more majors.
There were also trials. Koepka, who underwent left knee ligament reconstruction surgery in 2019 due to a chronic knee injury, seemed to be making a comeback by winning the Phoenix Open in February 2021. However, after failing to achieve remarkable results, he eventually transferred to LIV Golf, sponsored by Saudi Arabian capital, in June of last year.
After joining LIV Golf, Koepka shot a flare of revival with two wins. In the first Major Masters of the season last month, he led the first to third rounds. However, on the last day, he allowed Yon Ram (Spain) to turn around and was satisfied with the runner-up. Some pointed out that LIV golf was not strong in the fourth round because it was a three-round game. However, the ‘Major Hunter’ successfully kicked away the criticism around him by holding the Wanamaker Trophy (the PGA Championship winner’s cup) in his arms.
In addition, with this victory, Koepka inflated the possibility of selection for the Ryder Cup, a golf competition between the United States and Europe. Ahead of the opening of the tournament, Koepka said, “I won second place, and if I win and win again, it will be difficult not to pick me.” “It all depends on Jack Johnson. I want to play for him.” Johnson, the general manager of the Ryder Cup USA team, took a step back immediately after the tournament, saying, “Kepka deserves to compete in the Ryder Cup,” but “it is still too early to talk about a player from LIV Golf joining the Ryder Cup.”
Koepka went into the final round with a single lead, one stroke ahead of Hoblan (Norway) and Cory Connors (Canada), who tied for second place on the day. He started solo from the beginning of the game with three consecutive birdies on holes 2 through 4, but was chased by one stroke at one point with bogies on holes 6 and 7. However, Koepka washed away the nightmare of the Masters this time. After flying 311 yards with a tee shot in hole 16 (par 4), I put my second shot 1.5m next to the pin and simply caught a birdie. In the meantime, Hoblan committed a double bogey and was 4 strokes away from the championship. After the match, Koepka said, “It’s really cool. I am just happy with everything that is happening right now. I am at a loss for words,” he said.
Bryson DeChambeau (USA) tied for 4th with a 3-under par, and Cameron Smith (Australia) tied for 9th with a 1-under par, putting LIV Golf players at the top of the leaderboard. World No. 3 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) is tied for 7th (2 under par), and Lee Gyeong-hoon, the only Korean player who succeeded in passing the cut, is tied for 29th (5 over par). Masters winner Lam tied for 50th place (7 over par).안전놀이터
Schaeffler returned to world No. 1 by pushing Lahm to world No. 2 as the runner-up in the event. Koepka jumped from 44th to 13th.