He may have lost his number-one ranking, but Brooks Koepka is still going to be one of the favorites going into the PGA Championship. The 2018 winner will be hoping to repeat the feat and claim his fourth major win, even though back-to-back event wins have only been achieved by one man in the stroke-play era.
That man is Tiger Woods, the undisputed favorite going into the Championship, who boasts some fearsome momentum from the Masters. Favored to make further additions to his litany of glories, the red-hot American is enjoying the classic 'Indian Summer' that golf veterans of a certain elite calibre usually enjoy.
Brooks Koepka's final round highlights from 2018 PGA Championship.
Koepka - true 'legend' status awaits despite form
Golf, like any other sport, is awash with examples of players that have come onto the scene, won a few major honors and then faded away. After an incredible 2018, Kopeka will be hoping that this isn’t just a purple patch and that he is going to remain at the top for a very long time.
Koepka hasn’t won a tournament since The CJ Cup last year, but he has momentum himself, and has the innate ability to use that to his advantage, and in turn, overcome any psychological burden. He was tied for second place in the Masters and will be confident, despite suffering from a lack of form in a number of recent competitions.
That said, his recent performance in Augusta makes it seem as though his time at the top is going to be permanent, and this is reflected by the predictions of experts in many betting circles.
While the likes of Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari are the bar where Koepka is concerned, he should be able to cope with the challenges of Bethpage Black reasonably well. It will certainly suit his stroke play, and provides him with an ample opportunity to get off to the strong starts that often accelerate him towards some excellent performances.
Feeding off the US Open for inspiration
Given the difficulty of emulating Woods' feat, it is perhaps not his 2018 PGA win that will be Koepka's biggest source of inspiration. Back in 2018, he showed that he could win back-to-back majors by winning the US Open after his success in 2017 and at any rate, he looks certain to add to his three major wins, despite the incredible competition that awaits at Bethpage Black.
Brooks Koepka Final Round Highlights - 2017 U.S. Open
Johnson and McIlroy provide reality check
It seems that though the whole world was waiting for Tiger Woods to win a major once again. In the 2018 PGA Championship, Koepka broke those hearts by keeping Woods a close second. However, he couldn’t quite repeat the feat at the Masters, and he will ultimately approach this one with a rare, and dangerous, mix of high personal expectation and underdog status.
The fact remains that popular betting choices like Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are bigger favorites than Koepka, with the likes of Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose just behind.
It will be as competitive as ever, but winning often breeds further honors, and while everyone will be looking at Woods as always, Koepka could not have a better foundation - as reigning champion of the PGA Championship - on which to make history.