Rory McIlroy took a nobler stance. He acknowledged that Brooks Koepka had a point when he recently said the Northern Irishman is not a true rivalry. That is because his major championship victories were indeed acquired at a time when Koepka was still playing on the European Tour.
So, when Rory McIlroy was asked about Brooks Koepka's comments during the broadcast of the MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins, a four-player golf event on GOLFTV powered by the PGA TOUR.
"What Brooks said wasn't wrong,'' said McIlroy, who was competing with Tiger Woods, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama on Monday at Accordia Golf Narshino Country Club, the site of this week's first-ever PGA TOUR co-sanctioned event in Japan, the Zozo Championship.
"He's been the best player in the world for the last couple of years. Four majors. Don't think he had to remind me that I haven't won one in a while. I love Brooks. He's a great guy. He's super competitive like we all are. I see where he's coming from.''
McIlroy, however, last won a major at the 2014 PGA Championship. Koepka, on the other hand, joined the PGA Tour sometime in 2015. And, he is the reigning number one ranked golfer in the world with four majors in just two years.
So, last golf season, Koepka outplayed McIlroy over the final round in Memphis to capture the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship. But, a month later, it was McIlroy who prevailed over Koepka in the final round of the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup which earned him $15 million.
When asked by Agency French Press about the rivalry heading into last week's CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka didn't hold back.
"I've been out here for -- what? -- five years,'' Koepka told reporters. "Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour. So I just don't view it as a rivalry. I'm No. 1 in the world. I've got an open road ahead of me. I'm not looking in the rearview mirror, so I'm not seeing it as a rivalry.''
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