Koepka will not fly under the radar at Carnoustie
"I always feel like I'm overlooked."
Those were the words of Brooks Koepka after sealing his second major title on Sunday.
But the American will not be flying under the radar any more – not after this unflappable showing at Shinnecock Hills.
Clearly the American is a man for the big occasion – he has only won three times on the PGA Tour since turning pro – but two of them were majors.
And if his scoring run at Erin Hills in 2017 marked him out as a clean ball-striker, his grinding style last weekend showcased his versatility as an all-around talent.
That winning feeling. pic.twitter.com/Lv0VtFDHKP— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) June 19, 2017
The 28-year-old is now a name to be taken seriously for every major tournament – indeed Koepka has finished no worse than 21st in his past ten major championships, including five top-10s
He has four consecutive top-20s at the US Open, has won the last two years and finished tied fourth in 2014.
One of the reasons that it has taken Koepka so long to be talked about is his circuitous route to the top.
The Florida native – in order to become a better rounded golfer – actually cut his teeth on the European Challenge and main tour.
Last night, Brooks Koepka given Henry Cotton top-rookie award at EuroTour banquet by previous winner Peter Uihlein. pic.twitter.com/Ikbx0dA5kR— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) May 20, 2015
His great uncle is Dick Groat, a two-time World Series winning MLB Short-stop and baseball was the first love for Koepka who was offered a baseball scholarship to college.
And while his muscle-bound physique seems more suited to the NFL and he is a huge Man Utd fan – it is golf where Koepka has made his mark.
After graduating from Florida State – Koepka qualified for the 2012 US Open as an amateur – the American came to Europe and made an immediate impact.
By the end of 2013 he had won three times on the Challenge Tour and by the end of 2014 was the Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.
By the time he returned to America, Koepka was a name to look out for – and his victory at the 2015 Phoenix Waste Management Open cemented him as another of the sub-30 Americans rising to the top of the sport.
BRAWN AND BRAIN
One of the longest hitters in the game, Koepka and good friend Dustin Johnson model the new prototype of American golfer.
But it is the 28-year-old’s mental fortitude and rock-solid short game that have marked him out as a player already of historical importance.
Not since 1989 and Curtis Strange has a golfer won the US Open two years in a row – and it is only the third time it has happened since the Second World War.
If Brooks Koepka goes on to be the first repeat U.S. Open winner since Curtis Strange in 1989, he would make it his 2nd major victory, just as Strange did, and he would do it in the state of New York, just as Strange did.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2018
But Koepka came into the Long Island tournament calling himself the most confident player in the field – and then backed it up.
So with second major title in the bag – 12 months after his first – it was easy to understand why Koepka has enjoyed being overlooked.
Last year at Erin Hills the scoring was easy for all and few saw anything they didn’t already know about the American.
But a year on, and everyone has sat up and taken notice. And he will undoubtedly be one of the favourites when they tee it up at Carnoustie next month for The 147th Open Championship.
"It doesn't bug me (being overlooked). I just kind of keep doing what I'm doing, keep plugging away, kind of hide behind closed doors sometimes, which is nice, kind of the way I'd like to keep it,” added Koepka on the weekend.
"Everyone said Erin Hills was set up for me. It was set up for a lot of guys that bomb the ball. I just happened to play a little bit better that week.
Koepka becomes the first player to win back to back majors since Padraig Harrington won @TheOpen in 2007-2008 👏👏👏— 4 Ball Golf (@FourBallGolf) June 17, 2018
"This week is just back to a typical US Open, where one over par wins. It's just a lot of grinding. But I couldn't be happier with the way I played."
Next June at Pebble Beach, he will have the chance to become just the second player after Willie Anderson (1903-05) to win three straight US Opens.
But first, attentions turn to Carnoustie and another shot at history after finishing tied sixth last year at Royal Birkdale.For more information about The 147th Open Championship including tickets visit: TheOpen.com/Tickets