The resurgence of Brooks Koepka this year is something not many golf fans and pundits alike would have seen coming. The 33-year-old rose to prominence around five years ago when he won the US Open back-to-back in 2017-18 and two PGA Championships in succession in 2018-19 to become the number one-ranked player in the world.
But his struggles since have been well documented and made for all to see thanks to Netflix’s hit docuseries Full Swing. Koepka is portrayed as a broken man, suffering from fatigue, injury and severe loss of form, with no answers to how he can get his career back on track and his decision to join LIV Golf comes to fruition as well.
At the time, the choice to jump ships to the Saudi-led, controversial breakaway league seemed to be almost entirely based on the financial security that LIV can offer. But the less taxing tour, with events not taking place as frequently as they do on the PGA, and being under arguably less pressure week-in week-out as he would on the PGA has perhaps played in his favour.
Brooks’ uptick in form started when he won his second LIV Golf event at Orange County National in Florida just one week out from the Masters earlier this year and that gave him the confidence boost to challenge for the one piece of silverware he so desperately wants to add to the trophy cabinet in his living room at Augusta National.
In fact, Koepka had one arm in the green jacket before an agonising final round implosion in Georgia. The American entered the Masters as a 50/1 outsider with Betfair Golf, but he held the overnight lead from Jon Rahm going into the final round and he had never not gone on to win a tournament from that position — until now, the worst time possible.
Koepka shot three over on Masters Sunday to ultimately finish five strokes adrift from Spaniard Rahm, who shot -3 to finish on 12 under and secure his first Masters title. It would have been a bitter pill to swallow for the 33-year-old, but he said at the time that he would eventually like to see positives and carry them over to the rest of the majors — and he already has, winning his third PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club last month.
A 19th-place finish in Adelaide, third in Singapore and sixth in Tulsa on the LIV Tour kept Koepka’s form ticking over nicely until the PGA and this time he delivered what was not only a massive victory for himself, but also a monumental success for his new organisation — becoming the first representative of LIV to win a major since its inauguration.
Koepka had the overnight lead going into the final round again, but this time there would be no collapse. He started strong with three successive birdies at two, three and four before two bogeys at six and seven threatened to derail that initial effort to pull clear of the rest of the pack. However, Koepka went on to bridie four more times and bogey just twice in the back nine as he held off a progressing Scottie Scheffler by two shots.
Up next in terms of majors is the US Open at the Los Angeles Country Club (15-18 June) and Koepka is heading to California riding on the crest of a wave and in the best run of form for years. At the top of his game, we have witnessed him win the PGA Championship and US Open in succession and he has a great chance of doing that again this year with odds of 14/1 to lift his third US Open — which would see Koepka pull level with the likes of Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson on six majors and just one behind the legendary Arnold Palmer.