Brooks Koepka eyes another lucrative US Open after recovering from surgery

American’s prize money tally is testament to how seriously he takes Major championships

  Brooks Koepka  talks with coach Pete Cowen during a practice round prior to the start of the US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course  in   San Diego, California. Photograph:  Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Brooks Koepka talks with coach Pete Cowen during a practice round prior to the start of the US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

 

No player in the past five years has matched Brooks Koepka’s ability in the Majors to be a walking ATM, his often-aching knees providing an accompaniment to the kerching sound of his bank balance progressing ever upwards.

In fact, since the 2017 Masters, Koepka has played in 15 Major championships – winning four, finishing runner-up three times (most recently at last month’s US PGA) and amassing three other top-10 finishes – and banked $13,191,659 (€10,877,776), which equates to an average of $879,444 (€725,185) per event.

All of which demonstrates just how serious Koepka takes these Majors in comparison to regular tour events, and why – his knee apparently healed following his latest surgery back in March – he is focused on just getting back in between the ropes and getting down to business over the coming days at Torrey Pines.

“I’ve got more mobility right now than I ever have, so that’s a solid thing where I can start building some strength again and keep building that up and just keep the progress going,” he said of the rehabilitation programme.

His recent spat with Bryson DeChambeau – which was highlighted with a leaked Golf Channel video clip and took on a life of its own – won’t be taken another step further on this occasion, after the USGA resisted any temptation to put the two adversaries in the same group for the opening two rounds.

Lackadaisical

Not that it would have bothered him if it had happened. As Koepka put it, “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m trying to play my own game. I don’t care who I’m paired with. It doesn’t matter to me what goes on. It makes no difference to me. I’m out there trying to play my own game. What happens inside the ropes, it won’t bother me.”

Those words, in truth, have been backed up by actions whenever he turns up at the Majors. The Masters earlier this year aside (when he missed the cut after returning too soon following surgery), Koepka – winner of back-to-back US Opens in 2017 and 2018 – has generally allowed his clubs to do most of the talking.

Of his ability to pitch up at the Majors, he said: “Just more focus, that’s all it is. Sometimes I get lackadaisical out there [at regular tournaments]. It’s tough to really focus for me. It’s something I’ve got to work on in regular events, being a little more in tune and not just always looking at the Majors and being on mentally for five, six, seven hours. It’s definitely different. I enjoy when it’s hard and when it matters most. That’s something I thrive off of, and that’s what I do so well.”

And back to that spat with DeChambeau, Koepka – for one – sees it in a different light. “You’re putting it in front of eyeballs, you’re putting it in front of people, the game of golf, who probably don’t normally look at golf, don’t play it, might get them involved . . . to me, that’s growing the game.”

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