Brooks Koepka Wins at The US PGA Championship

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Among active players on tour only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have won more majors than US PGA champion Brooks Koepka.

Sunday’s fourth major triumph from his last eight starts means the American heads to the US Open knowing another successful title defence would put him alongside Mickelson for victories in the tournaments that matter most.

We must also regard Koepka as the most likely to make significant inroads into Woods’ current tally of 15 majors.

He is now an undisputed golfing superstar, having drawn level with Rory McIlroy’s quartet of crowns. And he has all the momentum the Northern Irishman currently lacks.

Who would bet against Koepka at Pebble Beach next month?

The 29-year-old Floridian has won the last two US Opens and now successive PGA Championships with his two-shot triumph at Bethpage on Sunday.

Koepka is a perfect modern golfing machine. He possesses the athletic strength and balance that is essential for today’s power game.

Launch it long to leave the shortest route to the green – that is the ethos that dominates modern golf, where par fours stretch beyond 500 yards, par fives are elongated even further and meaningful doglegs are almost extinct.

No one is better equipped for such demands. Through the first three days at the PGA, when Koepka built a seven-stroke advantage, he utterly dominated from tee to green.

If his drives found the fairways then all well and good, but if his ball came to rest in the rough he had the strength to gouge it out and continue to make largely unencumbered progress.

This is why as much preparatory work is done in the gym as on the range by today’s golfing stars. It is a power game where speed and strength are the essential commodities.

Course set-ups demand this. From the moment Woods arrived on the scene two decades ago – overpowering Augusta, St Andrews and Pebble Beach – the authorities set about trying to “Tiger-proof” courses.

They installed new tees to lengthen yardages and grew rough to narrow fairways. Bethpage was the archetypal legacy course from the era when Woods transformed the game.

The irony is that the changes have played into the hands of the biggest hitters.

Armed with modern equipment – forgiving saucepan-headed drivers with generous sweet spots and balls that fly forever – supreme athletes now rule the golfing world.

There is no finer specimen than Koepka and currently no better exponent of the type of golf needed in the modern era.

Bethpage called for this largely one-dimensional form of the game. It was a “through the air” golf course that did not require deft running shots.

Rough surrounded every green, narrowing entrances to putting surfaces that were often elevated. There was only one way to play this course and Koepka possessed the perfect attributes.

But his talents run deeper than his physical ball-striking prowess. When necessary, he could call on a deftness of touch, soft hands and feel to harness precision.

There was no better example than his pitch to the 72nd green, which helped him save par after driving into trouble down the left.

And there we saw another of his great attributes. Throughout his week on Long Island he would pragmatically put himself back in position rather than try to force the issue if he was ever in trouble.

He is tough in every regard, including strength of mind. Yes, there was an almighty back-nine wobble on Sunday, but he collected himself in good time with a superb tee shot on the 15th.

The man Koepka has now replaced as world number one, Dustin Johnson, crumbled the moment he found himself genuinely in contention. As the fans chanted for DJ he lost his game and Koepka doubled down.

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