PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Brooks Koepka doesn’t have trouble getting motivated for majors. His four triumphs in less than two years are proof.
He’s already found fuel for his quest for a U.S. Open three-peat. His Twitter mentions were aflame when an old U.S. Open commercial – one that doesn’t include the two-time champion – was run earlier this week. He watched the video, and quickly noticed that he wasn’t in it.
“I guess I was amazed that I wasn’t in it,” Koepka said. “Just kind of shocked.
“Somebody probably got fired over it, or should have,” he added with a smile.
Koepka is trying to become the first person since Willie Anderson in 1903-05 to win three consecutive U.S. Opens. Koepka also has won the past two PGA Championships, including last month’s triumph at Bethpage Black.
He is one of four players with two wins this season (he also won THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES) and is third in the FedExCup.
He won at Bethpage Black by two strokes after starting the final round with a seven-shot lead. At one point, he was just one shot ahead of Dustin Johnson. That’s when the New York crowds, who’d been behind Koepka as he chased history, turned and started cheering for Johnson.
No one has ever lost a seven-shot lead in PGA TOUR history. Righting the ship, and avoiding a historic collapse, may have given Koepka more confidence than if he’d cruised to victory.
“Just for the fact that I was stunned. I was kind of shocked and in awe for about an hour there, making four bogeys in a row,” he said Tuesday. “I didn’t really know what was up at that point. And then having to re-correct things and kind of reset myself. It’s definitely a big advantage. I mean, we all know in U.S. Opens you could be 4 over through four very easily. And you look at it like this week, you get off to a tough start, and all of a sudden I’ve got to reset. Now I know how to do that under pressure. I know how to do that and really handle myself and kind of right the ship. I think that’s going to be important going forward.”
And now he has another slight to help his fire burn a little longer. Not that he has any trouble finding them.
At Shinnecock, he noticed that he was omitted from Golf Channel’s list of notables. Then there was the lack of post-round interview after the first round at last year’s PGA Championship. His dominant performance at Bethpage Black was a response to criticism from analyst Brandel Chamblee.
“You’ve always got to find something to give you a little bit of extra motivation,” he said. “Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious.”