Brooks Koepka has established himself firmly as golf’s most ruthless competitor. His record speaks for itself – four major victories in the last two years, all of them won in his uniquely cold-blooded style.
Those major triumphs are made up of two US Open and two PGA Championship crowns, and while they back up Koepka’s credentials as the number one force in professional golf right now, the American’s past performances in the Open Championship have not quite reached those dizzying heights.
As The Open heads to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Koepka has the chance to build upon his already burgeoning claim to be one of the finest golfers of his generation. Royal Portrush will be as challenging a links golf course as any that these professionals will have been faced with.
While Pebble Beach in the US Open last month played more generously than many were expecting, expect no similar let up in Northern Ireland. With a rather wild weekend of weather in prospect, the challenge of conquering Royal Portrush will be made all the more difficult.
But Koepka is a player who has the game to overcome such obstacles as wind or rain. Arguably the best driver of the ball in the world at the moment, and proving month after month that his putting is at an equally high level, the Florida native is as complete a golfer as you’re ever likely to see.
There is something uniquely mechanical about his technique. His firm stance and powerful swing make each drive seem laser-guided, sending the ball perfectly down the fairway or onto the green. The sheer consistency of his drives is what sets him apart. If you needed a player to hit a fairway to save your life, Koepka would be your man.
More impressive than his playing style is Koepka’s temperament. He strolls around the golf course hardly changing his expression, an occasional cool fist pump after a birdie the only glimpse of emotion visible in this irrepressible golfing machine. Koepka has proven himself to be ice-veined under pressure — the way he held himself together in the final round of this year’s PGA Championship as things looked to be slipping out of his grasp was evidence of that.
The mental side of things is arguably where The Open will be won and lost, and that is what makes Koepka such a formidable prospect. It goes without saying that winning a major takes an immense amount of skill and technical proficiency, but the player who triumphs is usually the one who can keep control of their emotions and maintain their level of performance. Gary Woodland demonstrated this to perfection last month in holding off Koepka to win the US Open.
Koepka will have extra motivation in Portrush to prove himself at The Open Championship, to show that he is just as comfortable in the rainy surroundings of Northern Ireland’s north coast as he is in the lush confines of Long Island’s Bethpage Black. It has always struck that Koepka is a golfer aiming for perfection, to exceed expectations and set new standards in the sport. In recent years he has taken that quest to another level, and The Open offers the American a chance to ascend to a new stratosphere.
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