FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Still with more major than non-major titles on the PGA Tour, Brooks Koepka has developed something of a secret sauce when it comes to golf’s biggest events.
Koepka has won three of the last eight majors played, including last year’s PGA Championship at Bellerive, when he held off Tiger Woods and a host of other contenders. He nearly replicated the feat last month, when a back-nine charge left him with a runner-up finish at the Masters behind Woods.
Koepka has won just twice outside the majors, in 2015 at the Waste Management in Phoenix and last fall at the CJ Cup in South Korea. While many contenders head into weeks like this with lofty aspirations, Koepka arrives at Bethpage State Park with a confidence level befitting a man who’s running out of room on his mantle.
“I think you keep doing what you’re supposed to do, you play good, you peak at the right times,” Koepka said. “I think sometimes the majors are the easiest ones to win.”
Koepka certainly has the results to back up his claim. In addition to his three major titles and last month’s runner-up, he also finished T-6 at the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale and cracked the top 5 at the PGA in both 2014 and 2015. Dating back to the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, Koepka has finished inside the top 25 in 12 of 13 starts in the majors, leaving only last year’s Open, where he tied for 39th.
It’s a remarkable run of consistency given the demands placed on players during these weeks, but Koepka shared a mathematical breakdown of the field that aligns with views often espoused by Jack Nicklaus on his way to 18 major titles.
“There’s 156 [players] in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat,” Koepka said. “You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, some of them just – pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.”
Having just turned 29 earlier this month, Koepka is just beginning to reach what many expect to be the prime of his career. And while the last two years have taken him from a relative unknown to one of the best players in the world, he’s not afraid to make his goals public when it comes to what his final major tally might be.
“I don’t see why you can’t get to double digits,” Koepka said, eyeing a total that has been reached by only three players in the history of the game. “I think one of the big things that I’ve learned over the last few years is you don’t need to win it, you don’t have to try to go win it. Just hang around. If you hang around, good things are going to happen.”