“He’s like a shark. And when he sees blood, he attacks! That’s how Jon Rahm described Brooks Koepka, earlier on Sunday. This comparison was borne out later in the day when the American lifted the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time thanks to a -9 cumulative score. He also offered the LIV circuit, of which he is now a member, his first Grand Slam victory.
He had both hands on the wheel, or on the helm, to stay in the nautical realm, early in the round, with a one-stroke lead over Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners.
Four years after his last major tournament title, Koepka held on to win the PGA Championship, without too many surprises.
Neither Hovland nor Conners did enough to worry him. Even ghosts like Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy will have been unable to catch up with him.
From the start, he set the tone with two birdies on the second and third holes.
This time, it was out of the question for the golfer on the LIV Golf circuit to miss out on the chance to make history. With the win, he became only the 20th player in history to win at least five major titles.
Koepka once again stood out on a course recognized for its complexity. His last PGA Championship title came at Bethpage State Park, one of the toughest terrains in the United States.
Recognized for his power and build as a quarterback, Koepka stood out more for his precision and tact during the week.
Even when he was in trouble on the famous sixth hole, his only gap of the round, he got back within feet of the cup thanks to a huge iron shot.
While some golfers are better at playing catch-up and coming from behind, like Rory McIlroy, Koepka never plays so well except when the pressure is at its peak, when the light is thrown on him and when he makes the last tee. , a Sunday afternoon of a major tournament.
He was imperturbable, steady and placid. In short, he was himself.
This victory is all the more significant given the tumult of the past few years. With his knee injuries and transfer to the Saudi circuit, the best seemed to be behind him. Koepka’s dominance seemed to have been a bubble, a phase, in the glorious history of golf.
Finally, have no doubt, good old Brooks Koepka is back. Even if he polarizes, no one can doubt it: he is like a fish in water when victory is at stake. And this third title at the PGA Championship should be proof enough. Only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have achieved such a feat in the era of stroke championships.
Block. Michael Block.
It takes a story that is particularly interesting, or unique, to eclipse a player’s major tournament triumph.
But years from now, the 2023 PGA Championship will be remembered more as Michael Block’s tournament than Brooks Koepka’s.
He was one of 20 golf professionals invited to take part in the tournament. An instructor at a California club, the 46-year-old had only planned two sets of clothes and, above all, a return plane ticket for Friday’s date.
However, his game propelled him to instant stardom. Everywhere, on the course of Oak Hill, on the television networks and social media, everyone had only for this stranger with overflowing charisma.
His faculty of wonder never died out.
He was paired with McIlroy for the final round and he had to try to finish in the top 15 to ensure his participation in the next edition. He was eighth at the start.
His start to the round was somewhat thorny, despite the monstrous reception received at the first tee.
But that’s nothing compared to the crowd’s reaction when he hit a hole-in-one in the 15th. “She didn’t come in?” No, you sure are kidding me. Did she really come in? he kept repeating as everyone hugged him. Even his younger brother used his rangefinder to be sure.
He returned a round of 71 (1) and his par, which was hard to come by on the last hole, allowed him to finish tied for 15th place. He even had to quiet the crowd to let McIlroy finish his tournament in silence.
According to PGA data, he had earned $38,038 in career prize money. With this unexpected epic, he receives the tidy sum of $288,000.
Viktor Hovland will have it, his major title, but not right away.
He was Koepka’s main threat. Conners, meanwhile, had neither the nerves nor the experience to be a real contender.
Hovland, for his part, had knocked on the door in his last two majors.
This second place, obtained by virtue of a final score of -7, is his best career result.
He had got off to a good start, but his lack of finesse on the greens on birdie opportunities will have sunk him.
And, of course, his mess on the 16th hole. This footage was a cut-and-paste of Conners’ misadventure at that same hole on Saturday. Positioned in the bunker to the right of the fairway after her tee shot, her second shot stayed level with the ground and landed directly in the lip of the bunker. He lost a shot and, ultimately, his chances of joining Koepka.
Scottie Scheffler was also invited to the party with a final round of 65 (- 5), to climb tied for second place. His round of 73 (3) on Saturday was extremely penalizing.
For his part, Conners slipped early. He brought home a round of 75 (5) to finish 12th.