It’s been a steady rise in the sport for Koepka, if not necessarily a straight one.
“I’m glad the fairways were wide, but there were some really hard holes out there, and I’m glad I played as well as I did”, he said. That? That was it?
Just when it seemed as if those remaining at the top might arm-wrestle for it, Koepka rose and suspense sank. He tied with Japanese world number four Hideki Matsuyama, who shot a superb six-under-par 66.
A fan ran up to Koepka with a flag for him to sign. It was a long phone call. “For us, it was like two minutes”.
I’m just going to keep trying to do what I’m good at and keep doing what I know how to do and we’ll see where that takes me. I’ve been trying to win too badly. He missed the second green with a sand wedge, and he missed a short par putt on No. 4 after he thought he almost chipped in, only for the wind to blow the ball back some 4 feet. “I just felt like I should be winning more”.
Asked about avoiding sectional qualifying next year, Schauffele said, “That’s another thing I didn’t know”.
He showed spunk after holding off Dustin Johnson at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, a victory that secured Harman a spot at Erin Hills. I had an opportunity today and I didn’t get it done. I didn’t think about hugging the trophy. Are you playing some of the best golf of your career right now? “I don’t think I mentioned “winning” to my caddie all week”. Koepka said, handing the trophy to Smith. This guy is so freshly minted he may still be hot from the smelt.
“What I’ve done this week is wonderful”, Koepka. “Yeah, I don’t get those very often”, Stricker said. “But I’m past that now”. She thought for a second and replied, “16 birdies”. Today I didn’t play how I wanted to but it was a great week. No regrets, but I did play well.
Right now, there may not be any sport in America where you can be as good as Koepka – nearly everyone in golf thinks that the ex-Florida State star, ranked No. 22 in the world, is a major figure of the game’s future – and yet have so many genial, obsessed, talented players of your generation, your own buddies, who are constantly trying to grind you to dust by their sheer numbers. They’re all under the age of 30.
Not a particularly good trend for those who prefer their golf defined by just a few faces they care to consign to memory.
Koepka becomes the 10th golfer from a current ACC school to win the U.S. Open, as well as the second Seminole (Hubert Green in 1977).
“I loved this course as soon as I saw it”. Seven players already have reached 10 under or better this week – Koepka, Harman, Thomas, Fleetwood, Fowler, Charley Hoffman and Matsuyama. If the USGA wants to bring more players into contention at U.S. Open, it will actually need shorter course setups. In part, that is due to rain and soft scoring conditions.
The 24-year-old world No. 13 produced a magnificent eagle three on the 600-yard 18th hole to crown a spellbinding display that was the lowest to par score in US Open history. “That’s what I kept doing”, he told a news conference.
Tommy Fleetwood, who played alongside Koepka and closed with a 72 to finish fourth, played the Challenge Tour a year before Koepka arrived. They are 25, 28 and 24 years old and ranked Nos. Si Woo Kim, who lurked all week, is 21.
“Those guys are going to have fantastic careers”.
“He’s brilliant. He’d never really done that before when he started coming on my bag”.
The long-hitting American traveled far and wide, from Kazakhstan to Kenya and mainland Europe, cramming into bed and breakfast rooms with fellow players, spending some nights sleeping in cars, and learning about life and how to win. And unlike most players after a first major, he’s willing to say it. “And this week I felt good on the greens”. He’s only done it once so to win his national open, I think that’ll take a while to sink in. “This is major No. 1 and hopefully many more to come”.