Is there anything more fitting than Brooks Koepka, a player who’s built a career off being blunt, both perceived and real, becoming No. 1 in the world while America was asleep? That, my friends, is staying on brand.
Unfortunately, this narrative—along with the notion his victories were second-page items to other headlines (the Saturday set-up at Shinnecock, Tiger’s run at Bellerive)—have blinded us from a more extensive, profound question: Where does Koepka go from here? Three majors in six starts (remember, he missed Augusta with injury) is rarefied territory; that he has nine other top-15 finishes in majors signals it’s more than a heater.
Though those results should convey this sentiment, it bears mentioning: Koepka is more than a muscle-bound bomber. An “unflappable mindset” and “cold-blooded” sound like uninspired commentary, but it shows in the stats, where he ranks ninth in scrambling, 20th in bogey avoidance and first in final-round scoring. Few are better in approach from the fairway (fifth in proximity) or far from the pin (second in approaches from 200+ yards), and he’s one of the better long-distance putters on tour (13th in putts longer than 25 feet).
In a curious way, Koepka winning the CJ Cup, away from the bustle that clouded his majors, provided a sense of clarity of his present, and more importantly, future. Koepka, Justin Rose and others will play hot potato with the No. 1 ranking in the upcoming months—Rose took it back again on Sunday by .0012 points—but there’s no doubting who the best player in golf is. Don’t expect that reign to be short-lived.
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