Brooks Koepka has claimed the ‘sweetest’ major of his career after ending a four-year PGA Championship victory drought – and insists ‘as a kid he never even dreamed’ of winning five
- Brooks Koepka finished two shots ahead of Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler
- The American said he was ‘lost for words’ and spoke of ‘blood, sweat and tears’
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Brooks Koepka labeled his fifth major title the ‘sweetest’ of his career after he completed his remarkable revival with victory at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
The American, once feared as golf’s most effective big-game hunter since Tiger Woods, appears to be falling out of relevance after a series of serious knee injuries between 2019 and 2021.
But after claiming second place at the Masters last month, Koepka went one better at Oak Hill to become one of only 20 golfers to win five majors and his first in four years.
‘It’s unbelievable, it’s wild,’ said Koepka, who shot a final-round 67 to beat Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler by two strokes.
‘When I look back at where we were two years ago, I am very happy now. I’m a little lost for words. This is the coolest thing.
Brooks Koepka leans on the trophy after sealing his victory at the PGA Championship
Koepka was delighted on the 18th green after sealing a two-shot win over his nearest rival.
‘This one is definitely sweeter. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this one. Life has changed a lot for me but this one is very satisfying for me.’
The win would lift Koepka from 44th to 13th in the updated world rankings and also move him into the automatic qualifying spots for the United States Ryder Cup team.
Out of the top six heading into Zach Johnson’s 12-man squad, Koepka is expected to finish second, though won’t earn any additional points until next month’s US Open as his LIV circuit is currently deemed ineligible of golf’s official world rankings body.
‘I don’t know how many guys have won five times but to be among those names is incredible,’ added Koepka. ‘I’m not sure as a child I dreamed of doing this.
‘I’m not trying to prove to others that I can still play. I still can and I like the way things start. I think when I’m healthy, I think I’m back to where I was during a good stretch.
Koepka had to wait four years between major wins, but now brings his tally to a brilliant five
Norway’s Viktor Hovland said it was ‘frustrating’ not to have come up short but was happy with his progress
Hovland, who has finished fourth, seventh and second in the last three majors, said: ‘It’s frustrating today, but it’s really nice to see that things are going in the right direction.’
The Norwegian added: ‘If I just keep minding my business and keep working at what I’m doing, I think we’ll get one of these soon.
‘Brooks is a great player and now he has five majors. I mean, that’s one hell of a record right there. It’s not easy to be with a man like that.
‘So I feel like I belong here, I just need to improve a bit and hopefully it will go next time.’
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy shot a third straight 69 to finish at two under. He cut a desperately subdued figure this week, with his game not up to his usual standard.
Rory McIlroy was off the pace and had to fight hard for his top-seven finish at Oak Hill
His top seven finish was due to fighting spirit, but it leaves a number of technical gremlins to be ironed out with just three weeks to go before the US Open, including a two-way miss off the tee.
He said: ‘I honestly didn’t feel like I had a chance to win this week.
‘I feel quite close but also very far away at the same time. It’s hard to explain. I feel like sometimes it’s the worst I can play, but at the same time, it’s like the best I can do. It felt strange.
‘It doesn’t quite feel where it needs to be, so I just have to go back home and work on some stuff and try to figure it out.’