Major near miss gives confident Dustin Johnson runner-up Slam
- Author: Julie Sanders May 22, 2019,
May 22, 2019, 15:57
Koepka is the first man ever to concurrently hold back-to-back U.S. Open and PGA titles.
And then he endured the toughest day of his career Sunday, which turned into the most rewarding. "I'm glad to have this thing (Wanamaker Trophy) back in my hands".
"Today was definitely the most satisfying out of all of them for how stressful that round was", said Koepka.
This one should have been.
The 2017 and 2018 US Open champion, who had a seven-shot lead at the start of the final round on Sunday, saw that cut to one after four bogeys from the 11th. I feel I'm right there mentally.
If you're wondering about Koepka's history at The Open Championship - the major he has struggled in the most since his major run - well, he finished in an underwhelming tie for 39th a year ago, but has two top finishes, including a tie for sixth in 2017.
His place in history was secure. And let's face it - he's going to win. He will be aiming for three of his national titles on the trot when he visits Pebble Peach next month (June 13-16).
"Just the last three holes is what got me", Johnson said. "He could go to a different place mentally than the rest of us could go, but Brooks gets himself there via the negative comments he gets from people". "That's all you can ask for". "But it's awesome. It's great to watch".
This 101st PGA Championship wasn't easy, but he won.
Dustin Johnson reacts after sinking a putt for birdie on the ninth hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament, Sunday, May 19, 2019, at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.
In the end, Bethpage was Bethpage, and just six golfers finished under par from the 156 who started the week.
But that trophy spoke volumes.
Koepka covered the second 36 holes in sixteen more shots compared with those record-breaking early rounds. The wind was so fickle that it died as he hit 7-iron to the par-3 14th that sailed over the green, leading to a fourth straight bogey. Johnson had made bogey and Koepka knew he had his cushion back.
"Tell you what, the hour spent from number 11 to 14 was interesting", Koepka said.
"How could you not with the "DJ" chants, " Koepka said. I think hitting 15 tee shot down the middle of the fairway definitely kind of helped ease a little bit of the tension, knowing that that pin was kind of in a gettable spot but then hit a bad wedge shot.
It looked highly likely at that stage that Koepka was just going to cruise to a successful title defence and £323,000 was matched at just [1.03] but then everything changed quite quickly. ". Obviously I knew starting seven back that it was going to be a big feat to catch Brooks". I was just in shock, I think. "It was at a ideal time because I was just thinking, 'OK, all right".
How do you come back from blowing a seven shot lead in a major? The fans were largely just vociferous and good humoured but a few went beyond the pale as the drama unfolded. The best reassurance Elliott could offer was, "You know, you've bogeyed four in a row, so there's a good chance you're going to par". "You know, I definitely gave him a run, though, so I was happy with that".
Koepka was six when Woods won the first of his 15 majors at the Masters in 1997, and he grew up with his countryman's notion that golfers should be athletes.
After a final session he described as "stressful", Koepka held his nerve to pocket prize money of more than £1.5 million (almost $2m).
It's fair to say that Brooks Koepka was not the crowd favorite down the stretch at the PGA Championship as he struggled through his final round, opening the door for a Dustin Johnson comeback.