As Major season drew to a close at Royal Portrush, the world’s elite golfers breathed a sigh of relief; safe in the knowledge that Brooks Koepka’s torment of them was over for another year. And then… Memphis.
Tough Task in Tennessee
TPC Southwind didn’t yield an abundance of birdies in the way that many PGA Tour courses do. Methodical golf could keep you out of trouble, but attacking the course was risky business. Just ask Jordan Spieth, who managed 7 birdies to a bogey and two triples for par on Thursday and 8 birdies to two bogeys & two doubles on Sunday.
Setting up Sunday
Jon Rahm flew out the blocks with an 8-under 62 before Matt Fitzpatrick went 67-64 for the lead entering the weekend on -9. Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka leapt to the top on Saturday. Rory set the course alight with his 62 to reach -12, whilst Koepka’s 64 put him one shot back. Fitzpatrick sat one further back on -10.
McIlroy entered Sunday leading World No.1 Koepka by one stroke, with aggressive golfers like Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood & Bubba Watson lurking in the shadows. On paper, we were set for a thrilling contest on Sunday. But a contest it was not, as Koepka birdied three of four holes between the third & sixth whilst Rory made the turn with nothing but pars. Despite Webb Simpson firing a 64 to reach -13 and solo second, two more birdies at the 10th & 17th helped Koepka cruise to a three-stroke win on -16. However, it wasn’t the birdies that made it clear the contest was over at the turn but rather the fact that he was never in danger of making a bogey.
Rory fell to +1 with two bogeys and a birdie as Bubba, Rahm, Fitzpatrick & Ian Poulter all took the methodical approach to 1-under rounds. Fleetwood’s -4 gave him a T4 (-11) result; a second consecutive week of impressive golf on a big stage without ever truly threating top spot.
Sure, we all want to see a neck-and-neck contest, but any true golf fan could sit back and admire the sheer brilliance of the world’s greatest golfer as he played X Factor golf. The amount of times we heard the word “Wow!” from commentators was matched only by the phrase “That’s why he’s World Number One”. We’re all aware of his incredible driving ability, but what makes him the best of the best is the fact that there is genuinely no weak area of his game. He had a perfect putter on Sunday and he was magic with a wedge in hand. I mean, he found the green with a GAP WEDGE from 150 yards! Oh, and finally, he is the only golfer I’ve ever seen with a mental game that could rival that of Tiger Woods.
It took a while, but there’s no doubting that he’s getting the attention his game deserves now. The entire golf world is purring over Brooks Koepka.
Brooks Koepka - What's in the Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade M5
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL
Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), Mizuno JPX 919 Tour (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Written by Joe Carabini