Brooks Koepka may be a little salty that he wasn’t selected as the Player of the Year and that those honors went to Rory McIlroy.
However, in the eyes of the four-time major champion, who has won four majors in his last 10 attempts and whose lowest major finish in 2019 was a T4 at The Open, there is no rivalry because McIlroy hasn’t won a major since Brooks has been a member of the PGA Tour.
“I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour,” Koepka told AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, where Koepka is defending his title. “So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
Look, I know this may be hard for many to swallow, but Brooks is right. Rory hasn’t won a major since 2014, but … he has been competitive in them since then.
McIlroy has averaged two top-10 finishes in majors per year since his last win, including a T8 at the PGA Championship in May and a T9 at the U.S. Open.
“I’m No. 1 in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me. I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry,” Koepka said.
“You know if the fans do [call it a rivalry], then that’s on them, and it could be fun,” Koepka said. “Look, I love Rory. He’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”
And even though this may be perceived as a slight towards McIlroy, he doesn’t see it that way.
“He [Koepka] talked about trying to be the dominant player in the game … and I thought: He’s going to have to go through me first,” McIlroy told Carson Daly on his recent GOLFPASS Podcast before adding, “If that’s both of our mentalities going forward, I think that’s good for the game.”
While I’m not going to tell you that there is absolutely no rivalry because both of these players believe they can win majors, until Rory wins another one and Brooks doesn’t win one in a year, there is no rivalry when it comes to majors.
[Quotes via Golf Digest]
Michael is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Stiff Shaft. He is also the Senior Editor of Golfweek Custom Media and covers the World Long Drive for Golf Channel.
He has 8+ years of covering golf, is an LSU fan, and prefers to hit driver-wedge as often as possible.