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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Brooks Koepka Flew Under the Radar

Well, at the start of the week I don't think many were putting their money on Brooks Koepka to be the U.S. Open champion at Erin Hills. He really flew under the radar all week. 

Sure, we knew this guy could play. He is another of these athlete golfers who has the power, like DJ, to over-power a golf course. And we knew Erin Hills was going to favour the big hitters at over 7800 yards. But Koepka was able to go about his business at Erin Hills without much attention. He was just another of those young power players who we knew was talented, but had yet to prove himself on the big stage.

Koepka honed his game after he turned pro on the European tour. And I suspect his experience on that tour, playing on so many different courses, in so many different conditions, made him a better player than he might have been had he stayed in the U.S to try to earn his way onto the PGA tour in the normal way. His experience on the European tour also taught him that he was capable of winning against seasoned pros. He did it five times. It had to have helped him at Erin Hills as well, a links style course where you had to be able to handle the wind. After today, you might just see more American kids try to qualify for the European tour. 

The fact that he is a good friend of DJ undoubtedly also helped Koepka believe that he could win a Major. He had had a front row seat, watching DJ win his Open last year. And DJ had apparently texted him last night and told him he had what it takes to win. You don't win Majors without self-belief. 

Koepka's Ryder Cup experience also taught him that he was capable of handling the real heat on the grandest of stages. Let's face it, he was simply poised and ready to be a Major champion. He knew it. And, looking at it in hindsight, we should have known it as well.

Brooks Koepka was able to fly under the radar as he won the trophy most cherished by most American golfers. One thing for certain is that he won't be flying under the radar any longer.