Brooks Koepka is dominating the PGA Championship. He entered Saturday’s third round with a healthy and comfortable seven-stroke lead after posting the lowest two-round score in major history. Koepka birdied two of the first five holes to move to 14-under and widen the gulf between himself and a field helpless to stop or even challenge him in any way.
Kopeka appears well on his way to a second consecutive PGA Championship victory. If he keeps the train on the track he’ll become the first golfer to win this major and the U.S. Open in consecutive years. If — and it is a big if — he can win next month at Pebble Beach, he’ll have claimed five of the last 10 majors.
This is domination, pure and simple. And it may be under-appreciated in real time. The 29-year-old does not possess the gregarious personality of other beloved champions. He is not flashy or particularly interesting to the public save for, you know, the otherworldly performance on the course.
And then there’s the idea that he doesn’t really care, both about what you think about him and the sport in general. Koepka has done plenty to advance this narrative himself.
Tuesday, on Pardon My Take: “You’re out there for 5 1/2 hours. I mean, how bad is that? No one wants to spend 5 1/2 hours out there.”
From the same interview: “It gets boring from like hole 5 to 12. You are just like, Where am I right now? I literally can’t tell you what happened during those holes. You kind of like black out. Everything is repetitive.”
From a 2015 interview with Golf Digest: “To be honest, I’m not a big golf nerd. Golf is kind of boring, not much action. I come from a baseball family.”
He is not Tiger Woods. His relationship with the game is not the same. It’s a part of who he is, but not who he is.
All of this can obscure the fact that he’s every bit the formidable force Woods was in his prime. The same magnificent power and athleticism are on display. The same mental toughness to close and decimate opponents exists.
Golf, at its core, is a journey from Point A to Point B. The goal is to make the trip in the fewest amount of shots. Koepka does this good as any golfer since Tiger, he just does it differently.
The domination is quieter, less commercial, less emotional. But it’s domination nonetheless.