LIV star Koepka makes history with third PGA title
LIV Golf star recruit Brooks Koepka has collected his fifth major title taking out the US PGA Championship this morning in Oak Hill, Rochester.
He becomes only the 20th golfer in history to reach five majors after outlasting Norway’s Viktor Hovland and World No.1 Scottie Scheffler to win by two strokes on 9-under-par.
Koepka is the first LIV Golf player to win a major since the Saudi-backed breakaway was formed last year. The 33-year-old had previously won two US Opens and two US PGA Championship titles and narrowly missed his first Masters title in April thanks to an inexplicable final round 75.
“I’ve always learned more from the four times I finished second than, I guess, the five times I’ve won now,” said Koepka about his near-misses.
“I think failure is how you learn. You get better from it. You realise what mistakes you’ve made. Each time I’ve kind of made an adjustment. It’s more mentality than it is anything. It’s not really golf swing or anything like that. You’re going to play how you play, but mentally you can kind of figure things out, and I’m always trying to get better.”
Brooks Koepka (Credit: PGA Tour)
Koepka wasn’t the only LIV player to have a strong presence at Oak Hill Country Club. Eleven of the 16 LIV players in the field made the cut with five finishing inside the top-20. Two players, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith, finished inside the top-10.
The PGA Championship is one of a handful of events on the calendar where players from the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV compete together. LIV players are also allowed to compete in the other three majors including the Masters, the US Open and the Open Championship because, like the PGA Championship, these events are not owned, governed or operated wholly by the PGA Tour.
The LIV player results at the US PGA Championship speak volumes about what the PGA Tour is missing out on by denying these world-class players a start at weekly Tour events. Three LIV players filled the top four at The Masters, including Phil Mickelson’s runner-up finish, alongside Koepka, producing such results certainly gives vindication as to the volume of criticisms surrounding LIV player’s competitiveness.
LIV Commissioner and CEO, Greg Norman, was understandably excited about his players once again dominating the majors.
“Congrats @BKoepka your comeback has been impressive. I am so proud of you. As for the @livgolf_league players they belong at the Majors and golf knows. 3 LIV Golfers in the top 10, 5 in the top 20, 11 made the cut,” tweeted the former World No.1.
Sydney’s Cam Davis was the top Australian, posting a 3-under for the tournament following a final round 5-under-par 65 which included four birdies and an eagle at No.14. He finished in a tie for fourth. It was Davis’ first ever top-10 finish at a major.
“You’re hoping for a perfect day where everything goes magically well so you can have a chance to win, but yeah, 65, I’m definitely going to take it because that’s probably my best round in a major at this point. It was nice to do it right at the end of the tournament when there’s the most pressure on,” said Davis.
LIV drawcard and reigning Open Champion, Cam Smith, also fired an impressive final round 65 to finish in the top-10 alone with Bryson DeChambeau.
“I think a little bit too much time off with the golf clubs probably has, I guess, kind of delayed how I wanted to start the year. Now it’s starting to feel really nice,” said Smith about his poor start to the season.
“I’m starting to feel confident with those irons, which when I’m playing good golf, that’s where I feel like I’m at. If I’m in the fairway and I have an iron in my hand, I really feel like I can be competitive out there, and that’s what I’m doing.”
A lacklustre final round 71 turned out to be great news for Western Australian star Min Woo Lee, who secured playing status on the PGA Tour for the remainder of 2023 by finishing in a tie for 18th. The other Australians to make the cut were Adam Scott, who finished in a tie for 29th and Lucas Herbert in 40th place.
Next up on the major calendar is the $17.5 million US Open starting June 15.