It seems Brooks Koepka has made the golf world forget about Tiger Woods. For now, at least.
Being the two-time reigning champ at two of the PGA Tour’s four Majors can do that. Finishing no worse than 13th in all but one (2018 Open) of his last 11 tries at golf’s four biggest events also helps.
Sportsbooks are paying attention
The 29-year-old American from West Palm Bech, Fla. is now the solo or co-betting favorite at each of the next three Majors, stealing the honor from Woods. Tiger entered the week of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black as the betting favorite at the final three Majors of 2019 and the 2020 Masters, but missed the cut and has since been jumped by Koepka at the sportsbooks.
Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Major||Koepka's Odds||Next Best|
|2019 US Open||+700||Dustin Johnson (+850)|
|2019 Open Championship||+950||Tiger Woods (+950)|
|2020 Masters||+850||Tiger Woods (+950)|
Arguably the most impressive part of Koepka’s three-year run of Major domination is the fact it’s been reserved almost exclusively to those marquee events. He has just two non-Major victories on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 2012, with those coming at the Waste Management Open in February 2015 and the 2018 CJ Cup, which put him into the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.
Talking the talk, and backing it up
Koepka hasn’t missed a cut in a Major since the 2013 Open Championship, making the weekend in each of his past 20 tries. He has 10 top 10s and the four victories, and his T2 at The Masters in April represents the next step in his continuous improvement at Augusta National over four career appearances.
In addition to his emphasis on fitness and all-around great game on the course, Koepka has a truly Major mindset. And confidence.
He referred to Majors as “easier to win” than regular tournaments in an interview with Fore Play last week, citing smaller, less competitive fields and the fact he plans his entire season around those four events. “I don’t see why I can’t get to double digits,” Koepka told CNN Sports’ Don Riddell after his win at Bethpage when asked how many Majors he could win over his career.
Here’s a look at how he’ll stack up in each of the next three attempts.
2019 US Open
Koepka’s Odds: +700
Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
Koepka wasn’t yet ready to participate in the last US Open held at Pebble Beach in 2010, but he’s the winner of the last two Opens, held at Shinnecock and Erin Hills, respectively. The only time he’s played the course(s) at Pebble was as a professional was the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, in which he finished T8 with an aggregate score of minus-10.
Measuring just over 7,000 yards, Pebble Beach is considerably shorter than the longer courses where Koepka has seemed to have the greatest advantage over the field. But he’s proven fully capable of powering his way through the long rough and can tame the lightning-fast greens which are stapled traits of the US Open.
2019 Open Championship
Koepka’s Odds: +950
Course: Royal Portrush – Dunluce Course
Royal Portrush hasn’t hosted an Open Championship since 1951, with its last event being the 2012 Irish Open which Koepka didn’t play. The Open has been Koepka’s worst of the four Majors thus far in his career – though he did finish top 10 in 2015 and 2017. Koepka’s last win on the European Tour was the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open, but he does have four wins on the Challenge Tour, including the Scottish Hydro Challenge in 2013 to represent experience on links-style courses.
Koepka’s Odds: +850
Course: Augusta National
Koepka finished T2 at the 2019 Masters. It was his best result in four tries at Augusta after he missed the 2018 tournament while recovering from wrist surgery.
Having twice conquered the PGA Championship and US Open, Koepka is sure to soon turn his full attention to golf’s most prominent title as he aims to earn his spot in the record books.