The US Open is usually a stern test of golf. There will already be some out there suggesting that perhaps it has been a little bit easier than previous tournaments. Try telling that to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day. The three best players on the planet all struggled and eventually, missed the cut. For them, any accusation of the ease others felt at Erin Hills would be a myth.
If anything, what we saw at Erin Hills was that pleasure and pain would be equal. Those who had the pain felt it really bad, those who had the pleasure would take full advantage. As the big names failed to make the weekend there was an opportunity that was there for the taking.
Take nothing away from Brooks Koepka, he dominated Erin Hills on the final round of the US Open. His 67, might not have been the best score of the day but his consistency throughout the week showed that as others struggled he was able to dominate a course. He would leave with a major trophy whilst also equalling the record score at any US Open.
Accuracy would be the key to Koepka’s victory. He led the field in accuracy from the fairway and was ranked fourth in his accuracy off the tee. As others stalled in their assault for the title, Koepka pulled away eventually winning by four shots.
Koepka later claimed that it was a brief phone call from the defending champion, Dustin Johnson, that helped him to victory.
“Dustin actually called me on Saturday night and told me to take one shot at a time, just to stay patient,” Koepka said. “It was a case of ‘just keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to win the thing. Just don’t get ahead of yourself’.
Cool, calm and collected, Koepka did just that.
The road to his first Major Championship has been somewhat different to other American players. Koepka entered the European Tour’s feeder programme. The Challenge Tour was his base as he developed his game further. Playing in front of tiny crowds (If any sometimes) he grafted and learned. He would also taste victory early on in his career. He graduated to the European Tour and also earned his PGA card. It was only at the end of the 2015 season that he decided to return home to compete solely on the PGA Tour.
The Challenge Tour can boast the creation of another Major Champion but if anything it is Koepka that will now be turning heads.