Tiger who? As the golf universe obsessed over Tiger Woods after his memorable 2019 Masters win, a worthy successor to carry his sport to even greater heights has surfaced. Call him Big Money Brooks. By sprinting out to a vast lead and easing up near the finish line to win by two strokes, Brooks Koepka notched another major in his carved-up belt Sunday, winning the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Long Island.
In his relatively brief career, Koepka has amassed four titles in Grand Slam events ? which offer the most prestige and highest purses ? compared to only two others on the PGA circuit. A coldly calculated remark prior to last week's opening round captured Koepka's laser-focused approach and supreme confidence entering a major.
"There's 156 [players] in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I'm just going to beat," he said. "You figure about half of them won't play well from there, so you're down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, some of them just . . . pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you've just got to beat those guys."
Those guys will face a prohibitive favorite in the upcoming Grand Slam stop, the U.S. Open next month. After all, Koepka has taken the past two Opens and three of the past five majors. As a result, initial odds posted by the Westgate SuperBook listed Koepka at +500 which is as low as anyone since Tiger had the rest of the tour by the tail. Dustin Johnson (+800), Tiger (+1000), Rory McIlroy (+1200) and Jordan Spieth (+1400) round out the early favorites on the golf odds.
Perhaps the others can draw hope from Koepka's scarce history with the course at Pebble Beach (Calif.), site of the U.S. Open. Since his debut on the Tour in 2012, when he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, Koepka, 29, has competed in the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am but once. Yet he wound up tied for eighth, with nary a round above 70.
So, go ahead, Big Money Brooks, and add a shelf to your trophy case.