PGA Championship: Koepka, the 33-year-old golfer who thought his career was over and who is not even coughed on today in the US | Sports

Koepka, with the 'Wanamaker' cup after winning his third PGA Championship.
Koepka, with the ‘Wanamaker’ cup after winning his third PGA Championship.ANDY LYONS (Getty Images via AFP)

In the locker room of the PGA Tour tournaments, after the flight of golfers who preferred money to tradition, convinced by million-dollar offers from the Saudis to enter the LIV, there was a big-mouthed anger that was fired with jokes, like when Rory McIlroy said that he did not know if the dissidents could maintain the tone during four days of competition, since in the other circuit far fewer tournaments are played and they consist of three rounds and not four as has always been done. The fans, upset because they understood that those petrodollars also financed the 9/11 attack, took a grudge against those who decaffeinated the heraldic competition with their escape. But they forgot about Brooks Koepka, 33, the lord of the greatsone of the most competitive beings on the face of the earth, now winner of the PGA Championship, his fifth major, who slapped satire with silencer and exquisite golf, as well as explaining to the world that the good guys (almost) always win. Often he is.

On the way to the 18th green, the fans broke into cheers and applause for Koepka, who once again reigned in a great one. He smiled and got free because he came to think that he would not experience a similar situation again, since he thought that he would have to hang the sticks for the string of injuries that he accumulated since 2019, when he looked at everyone from the heights. It was due to a slip in the CJ Cup that ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee. But he pushed so hard that he ended up hurting his hip and, later, dislocating his right kneecap, for which he had to undergo surgery again. “A few months ago I didn’t know if my career had finished. I didn’t know where my swing was or if I would physically be able to get it back. I told my coach that I wasn’t sure if he would return to play”, he confessed after winning a few weeks ago in Jeddah, the sixth LIV tournament of the course; “Now I know that in a few years I will have to get a knee replacement, but I feel lucky because I can play the way I want. Otherwise, I would have left it.” But he could with it. Often he is.

For Koepka, golf did not exist as a child, because he wanted to be a professional baseball player because his father was pitcher at West Virginia Wesleyan and his great-uncle, Dick Groat, also made a name for himself with the bat, in addition to playing in the NBA. But a car accident involving the babysitter who took care of him when he was 10 years old changed everything because he broke his nose and was prevented from playing contact sports. He picked up the sticks and soon understood that he had a gift, even though baseball is his confessable love. “Golf is boring”, he came to release when he reached number one. “At the Phoenix Open, golf seems like a real sport,” he revealed in full swing, a Netflix documentary, referring to the atmosphere and shouting in the stands, who throw beers and whatever they have on hand when the ball stays close to the hole or, on the contrary, boo when the hit is worse than mediocre. But to reach the elite, Koepka had to beat everyone. “I wasn’t the golden child like Justin Thomas or Jordan Spieth. They told me I wasn’t good enough, so I tried harder than everyone else to prove how good I am,” he notes. And if he did it once, he could do it again. Often he is.

“When you are at a low point you can give up, but you have to find a way out. I know that I have the quality to win several times a year. But at times I have wondered if I will be the same again, ”he reflects from his house, accompanied by his wife Gina and his dog. His work, hours in the gym and winning mentality, as well as talent, did the rest. “I want to win, I am not going to participate without more. If you want to step on my throne, I will step on yours. Winning is addictive, it is a matter of life or death, ”he sentenced in low hours. And his rivals know it. “When he comes to a tournament, his mentality is I come to win and get out,” slips Scottie Scheffler, second tied with Viktor Hovland in the PGA and number one after taking Rahm’s laurel. That’s what Koepka tried in the last Masters, but he lost his desire against Rahm because he played not to lose when he was leading and forgot about his golf. In Oak Hill the same thing did not happen to him, aggressive through and through, winner of the cup Wanamaker two shots ahead.

Hundreds of kilometers from there, Greg Norman, CEO of the LIV, was proud because he validated the commitment of the Saudi circuit as Cameron Smith did the previous year in the British and in Saint Andrews, although he had only left the PGA Tour for a week. “Sorry for the language, but no one knows the shit I’ve been through. There were times when he couldn’t even bend his knee, ”he resolved. And mindful of the modern battle of golf, he added: “I think this win helps LIV and it’s huge, yes, but to be honest, here I am competing as an individual.” Because Koepka does not want to fight if he is not on the field mats. And in Rochester (New York) he did it better than anyone because the greater the challenge, the better response he offers, since he adds the same majors -two US Open (2017 and 2018) and three PGA (2018, 2019 and 2023)- what triumphs in regular tournaments. Only 14 men in golf history have won bigger than him; only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have won three PGA Championships. Because often he is.

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