Koepka adds more fuel to the McIlroy rivalry fire
Brooks Koepka has delivered Rory McIlroy a subtle slap in the face sounding off at his rival in declaring that the major victories have dried-up for McIlroy since the American emerged onto the PGA Tour.
And while taking a swipe at McIlroy, Koepka’s stated ‘I love Rory’ and also suggested there’s no rivalry between the game’s leading pair of world-ranked stars.
Brooks Koepka with the 2018 CJ Cup (Credit: PGA Tour)
World No. 1 ranked Koepka has travelled to South Korea to defend this week’s PGA Tour sanctioned CJ Cup and the American is again facing questions about his so-called rivalry with McIlroy.
Koepka’s found himself having to deal with ‘McIlroy-related’ questions ever since being snubbed by his PGA Tour peers and losing out to McIlroy for the 2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year title.
“I’ve been out here for, what, five years and Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour,” said Koepka.
“So, I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
That’s correct with Koepka joining the PGA Tour in 2015 following a four year stint in Europe competing from 2012-13 on the European Tour’s secondary Tour and then 2014 on the main European Tour where he captured the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open.
McIlroy captured a fourth Major in July 2014 with his victory in the Open Championship but has not added to his tally whereas Koepka won back-to-back US Open’s in 2017 and 2018, and this year won successive PGA Championships.
In season 2019, both McIlroy and Koepka each won three times and while many observers believed Koepka would receive a first PGA Tour ‘Player of the Year’ it was McIlroy being handed a third such title in eight years.
From the outside looking in, it seemed purely a case of McIlroy being more popular among his peers than the hard-faced Koepka.
And while finding himself having to fend of McIlroy-related questions, Koepka was also quizzed who he thought would eventually win more Majors in their respective careers.
“I’m not looking at anybody behind me,” said Koepka.
“I’m number one in the world. I have open road in front of me so I’m not looking in the rear-view mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry.”
“You know, if the fans do call it a rivalry, then that’s on them and it could be fun.”
“Look, I love Rory as he’s a great player and he’s fund to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”