Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf US Open

I almost quit golf, admits new US Open king Koepka


By Phil Casey

Newly-crowned US Open champion Brooks Koepka has revealed he almost quit golf while leading a tournament. Koepka carded a closing 67 at Erin Hills to finish 16-under par, matching the tournament scoring record set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011.

The 27-year-old began the day a shot off the lead, but fired six birdies and a solitary bogey to finish four strokes ahead of overnight leader Brian Harman and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, with England's Tommy Fleetwood a shot further back in fourth.

Koepka has been tipped for the top since winning three tournaments on the Challenge Tour in 2013 to earn promotion to the European Tour, but the third win was in serious danger of never happening.

"I called (agent) Blake Smith the night of the third round (of the Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore)," Koepka said after collecting a record first prize of $2.16million (£1.6million).

"I called him and I was like, I don't even want to play. I just want to go home. I don't want to say homesick, I was just tired of golf, tired of travelling.

"I just wanted to be home, even though I think I had the lead at that point and was about to win the third one. For some reason I just wanted to get out.

"I've never felt that way. I don't even know what was going on. I think I had played so many weeks in a row it got to me."

Fortunately for Koepka, he decided to play the final round and went on to win by three shots.

In 2015 he won his maiden PGA Tour title in Phoenix, and in 2016 claimed the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, but admitted he felt like an underachiever.

"I'd won once on the PGA Tour, once on the European Tour," said Koepka, who climbed from 22nd in the World rankings to a career-high of 10th.

"I felt like I put myself in contention so many times and, I don't want to say got unlucky, I felt like I just never fully came together.

"I put myself in some good chances over the Majors over the last few years and never really quite came through.

"I just felt like I should be winning more. I'm not a big fan of losing, I don't think anyone out here is. And I just couldn't stand the fact that I'd only won once before."

A one-time winner no longer, Koepka has set his sights even higher, adding: "We started out this year and I thought I needed to win multiple times and a Major.

"I thought the way my game sets up I think I can win multiple times a year, I really do. And I think this is hopefully Major number one and there's many more to come."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph