PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Confidence was never an issue for Brooks Koepka until the injuries piled up, the doubts crept in and he began to wonder if he still belonged among golf’s elite.
Koepka answered every question at the PGA Championship with a performance that ranks among his best. His fifth major title was the sweetest of them all. No doubt about that, either.
“It feels damned good. Yeah, this one is definitely special,” Koepka said. “I think this one is probably the most meaningful of them all with everything that’s gone on, all the crazy stuff over the last few years.”
One knee injury kept him from the Masters, another from the Presidents Cup in Australia. Two years ago, he tried to pop his knee back into place and shattered his knee cap. And then last summer, uncertain about his future, he decided to leave the PGA Tour for the guaranteed Saudi riches of LIV Golf, bringing a mixture of criticism and skepticism.
And there he was Sunday at Oak Hill, looking good as new, dominant as ever, against the best collection of golfers in the world on a punishing golf course.
Koepka ran off three quick birdies early, never lost the lead amid a gritty fight from Viktor Hovland, and closed with a 3-under 67 for a two-shot victory.
He held up his index finger as he posed next to the Wanamaker Trophy, but he may as well have held up all five.
With three PGAs and two U.S. Opens, he became the 20th player with five or more majors. He won his third Wanamaker Trophy — only Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen with five and Tiger Woods with four have won the PGA Championship more times — and captured his first major in what felt like four years.
And to think that over the last few years, Koepka was so wounded he felt he couldn’t compete, a decision that might have led to him leaving the PGA Tour for Saudi-funded LIV Golf in a shocking move last June after the U.S. Open.
In the Netflix series “Full Swing” that began aired earlier this year, he was quoted as saying his confidence had given way to doubt. “I’m going to be honest with you, I can’t compete with these guys week in and week out.”
Give him good health and a clear head, and good luck taking down Koepka in the majors. He now has won five of his last 22 majors, a rate exceeded only by Woods, Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo and Ben Hogan in the last 75 years.
He is the first player from LIV Golf to win a major, and it hits back at the notion that 54-hole events and guaranteed money would take the edge off the rival league’s best players.
“I definitely think it helps LIV, but I’m more interested in my own self right now, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “Yeah, it’s a huge thing for LIV, but at the same time I’m out here competing as an individual at the PGA Championship. I’m just happy to take this home for the third time.”
Koepka is in pretty heady company just about everywhere he looks. His five majors are as many as Seve Ballesteros and Byron Nelson. Among active players, only Woods (15) and Phil Mickelson (6) have more.
“I’m not even sure I dream of it as a kid, that I’d win that many,” he said.
Koepka left little doubt about his place in the game with his two-shot win over hard-luck Hovland (68) and Scottie Scheffler, who closed with a 65 and returned to No. 1 in the world.
“To look back to where we were two years ago, I’m so happy right now,” Koepka said. “This is just the coolest thing.”
The victory moves Koepka to No. 13 in the world and No. 2 in the Ryder Cup standings. The top six automatically qualify, and it would be hard to fathom leaving Koepka off the American team. He can only early points in the majors, and two more are still to come.
Koepka had to share the loudest cheers with California club pro Michael Block, who put on an amazing show over four days. Block made a hole-in-one on the 15th hole while playing with Rory McIlroy, and then made two tough par putts at the end for a fourth straight 70.
He tied for 15th, giving him a return date to the PGA Championship next year at Valhalla. It was the best finish by a club pro since Lonnie Nielsen tied for 11 in 1986 at Inverness.
“The most surreal moment I’ve ever had in my life,” Block said. “I’m living a dream and making sure I’m enjoying the moment. Not getting any better than this — no way in hell.”
Block charges $125 a lesson at Arroyo Trabuco in Mission Viejo, California. He earned just short of $290,000 at Oak Hill.
A month ago at the Masters, Koepka lost a two-shot lead in the final round by playing tentatively and was overrun by Jon Rahm. He vowed he would not do that again, and Koepka delivered in a major way, just like he used to.
Hovland made it easy for him at the end. Koepka was one shot ahead on the 16th hole when Hovland hit his 9-iron from a bunker that plugged into the lip in front of him — the same shot that stopped Corey Conners on Saturday — and made double bogey.
Koepka gouged out a shot from the rough to 5 feet for birdie and suddenly was leading by four shots when Hovland made double bogey.
Scheffler started four shots behind and never got closer than two. His 65 matched the best score of the tournament, posted by four other players on a day that was set up for scoring.
“I gave the guys on top of the leaderboard something to think about, and I kind of made a little bit much a move, but Brooks just played some fantastic golf this week,” Scheffler said. “He played too good this weekend for me to catch up to him.”
Koepka was determined to restore his reputation as a major force, and he wasted no time. He stuffed a wedge to 4 feet on the second and third holes, and rolled in an 8-foot birdie down the hill on the par-5 fourth.
But he drove into the water on the sixth hole and did well to make bogey, and another bogey from the rough on the seventh trimmed his lead to Hovland to one shot.
It was tight the rest of the way until the 16th. Hovland hit 9-iron from the bunker and could hear the awful thud of it rocketing into the turf at the edge of the sand. He knew immediately what happened, covered his mouth with a closed fist. After a drop into nasty rough, it took two more to get to the green and led to double bogey.
“Brooks is a great player, and now he has five majors. I mean, that’s a hell of a record right there. It’s not easy going toe-to-toe with a guy like that,” Hovland said. “He is not going to give you anything, and I didn’t really feel like I gave him anything either until 16.”
Bryson DeChambeau, who began the PGA with a 66, made too many mistakes in his round of 70. He stuck around to clasp hands with Koepka, two players from LIV Golf who used to get under each other’s skin.
LIV had three players in the top 10 for the second straight major.
Koepka, who finished at 9-under 271, received $3.15 million and the heaviest trophy among the four majors. Nothing felt more valuable than that.
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How many major wins does Brooks Koepka have? ›
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Brooks Koepka now has five major championships, remarkable because he only started playing them on a regular basis 10 years ago. Slightly more than a third of his wins on top-level tours around the world have come with the biggest trophies in golf. LIV Golf now has one major.Has Koepka ever won a major? ›
With the win, Koepka has five major championships. He joins an elite list of golfers with five majors, which includes Byron Nelson and Seve Ballesteros. Koepka is the first LIV golfer to win a major. He joined LIV Golf in June 2022.What four majors did Brooks Koepka win? ›
He won the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, and the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019, becoming the first golfer in history to hold back-to-back titles in two majors simultaneously. In 2023, Koepka won the PGA Championship for the third time bringing his total to five majors won within six years.Has Tiger won all majors? ›
Woods is the only player to have won all four professional major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000–2001 seasons. This feat became known as the "Tiger Slam". Woods set the all-time PGA Tour record for most consecutive cuts made, with 142.Who has the most major wins in PGA history? ›
Jack Nicklaus has won the most majors, achieving 18 victories during his career. Second on the list is Tiger Woods, who has won 15 majors to date; his most recent major victory was at the 2019 Masters. Walter Hagen is third with 11 majors; he and Nicklaus have both won the most PGA Championships with five.Who holds the record for the most major tournament wins in golf? ›
1. Jack Nicklaus: 18 major wins.How much did Brooks Koepka win for winning the PGA Championship? ›
This year's PGA Championship purse was a $2.5 million increase from the $15 million handed out in 2022. Koepka will take home $3.15 million, signifying the largest year-over-year increase in tournament history.Who is the only male golfer to win four consecutive majors? ›
Tiger Woods, 2000-01.What happens if an amateur wins the Masters? ›
Do Amateurs Get A Green Jacket For Winning The Masters? Yes, if an amateur does win The Masters they do get a Green Jacket, but don't get the $3,25 million payday that comes with it.Who has won all 4 PGA majors? ›
Only five golfers have won all four of golf's modern majors at any time during their careers, an achievement which is often referred to as a Career Grand Slam: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. Woods and Nicklaus have won each of the four majors at least three times.
Who is better Tiger or Jack Nicklaus? ›
Woods has 82 victories in his career and Nicklaus 72, a considerable difference, but by itself not definitive when looking at the other finishes. Nicklaus had 57 runner-up finishes in his career and 269 top-10s while Woods had 31 runner-up finishes, or 26 behind Nicklaus, and 199 top-10s, 60 less than the Golden Bear.Is Jack Nicklaus a billionaire? ›
Jack Nicklaus Net Worth: $400 Million
Notable: The Golden Bear sets the standard by which all other golfers are measured. With his astonishing 18 majors (and 19 runner-up finishes), Nicklaus dominated golf for more than two decades.
|Golfer||Masters wins||Years won|
|Jack Nicklaus||6||1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986|
|Tiger Woods||5||1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019|
|Arnold Palmer||4||1958, 1960, 1962, 1964|
|Jimmy Demaret||3||1940, 1947, 1950|
Based on the number of victories alone, Jack Nicklaus is hands down the best golfer of all time. He has a total of 73 PGA Tour wins, 10 Champions Tour trophies, and overall 115 worldwide wins. So, that's the answer for who is the best golf player in the world and of all time.Can Liv golfers play in majors? ›
The PGA Tour banned LIV players from playing its events in a decision that sparked a federal antitrust probe, but independently governed majors have welcomed qualified golfers from both tours.How rich is Brooks Koepka? ›
Playing in seven LIV Golf tournaments, Koepka pocketed $8,276,100 for 2022, with the American the sixth highest earner of the year within the LIV Golf series. Prior to joining though, he was a successful member of the PGA Tour and secured $38 million in career earnings.How many golfers have won 3 of the 4 majors? ›
There are nine golfers who completed their tournament careers having won three out of the four majors, missing just one from the Career Grand Slam. But in some early cases, the fourth professional major wasn't even available for them to win — The Masters didn't debut until 1934.How many cuts has Tiger missed? ›
The five-time Masters champion, Tiger Woods, has never missed the cut as a professional in his 23 appearances.Can Tiger win another major? ›
Between a limited schedule, the progression of other players on tour, Woods' injury history, and his increasing age are the reasons why Woods won't be able to rejoin the coveted winners circle he so desperately wants to return to.How much did Michael Block make from PGA Championship? ›
Michael Block, a club pro who works full-time as a golf instructor, joins "CNN This Morning" to discuss his hole-in-one at the PGA Championship, which helped him land a share of 15th place and $288,333 in prize money.
Who has the most career earnings on the PGA Tour? ›
His 1-over par at the PGA Championship locked him into a tie for 15th, which netted him a payout of $288,333, far exceeding his previous career-high purse of $75,000 at the Club Professional National Championship at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach.Did Jack Nicklaus ever play against Ben Hogan? ›
Nicklaus played the final 36 holes with Ben Hogan, who later remarked that he had just played 36 holes with a kid who should have won by 10 shots. During the final 36 holes, Nicklaus was two-under-par; he had shot every round of the tournament at or below par and was the only entrant to do so.How many hole in ones does Jack Nicklaus have? ›
So Nicklaus did not win any of the tournaments in which he aced, and only one of his 21 career aces happened in a major — none in a "regular" (meaning not senior) major. But Nicklaus did score holes-in-ones twice during practice rounds prior to major championships.Has any golfer won 3 majors in one year? ›
No surprise that Nicklaus and Woods have accomplished multiple majors the most, five times for Nicklaus, four times for Woods. Hogan did it three times. Hogan and Woods are the only golfers on the list who won three majors in the same season.Will Sam Bennett get paid if he wins the Masters? ›
Sam Bennett won't take home any money, let alone the millions awarded to top finishers at the Masters, even if he wins the tournament. The 23-year-old fifth-year senior at Texas A&M remains an amateur—at least to the degree that word still has any meaning.Are Masters winners exempt for life? ›
The winner also receives a lifetime exemption to the Masters (63-year-old Fred Couples made the cut this year via that lifetime exemption), as well as a five-year exemption for the PGA TOUR and the other three major tournaments — the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship.Do you get paid if you don't make the cut in the Masters? ›
The Masters, like other major golf tournaments, follows the amateurism rules set by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and The R&A. According to these rules, amateur golfers are not permitted to accept prize money or any other form of compensation for their performance in the tournament.Does Tiger have a Grand Slam? ›
In the modern era, the career slam consists of winning the four current majors: the Open, the Masters, the PGA Championship, and the US Open. No player has ever matched Jones' feat of a calendar year slam, but five have managed a career slam: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.What are the 5 PGA majors? ›
|Major||Month||Weekend of month|
|Masters Tournament||April||Weekend ending second Sunday in April|
|PGA Championship||May||Weekend before Memorial Day weekend|
|U.S. Open||June||Weekend ending third Sunday in June, or Father's Day|
|The Open Championship||July||Week containing the third Friday in July|
Has Phil Mickelson won all 4 majors? ›
He has won every major except the U.S. Open, in which he has finished runner-up a record six times. In 2022, Mickelson became the only golfer who has won 3 (or more) of the 4 majors to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, leaving his PGA Tour membership of 30 years.How far did Jack Nicklaus drive the ball? ›
Luckily for us (and somewhat randomly) IBM did, for whatever reason, decide to measure driving distances for 11 tournaments in 1967, when Nicklaus was 27 and in his physical prime. The results, as uncovered by our Mike Johnson: Nicklaus averaged 276 yards, the longest on the PGA Tour.Who was more dominant Tiger or Jack? ›
— Off merit alone, Nicklaus leads the way with the record 18 major victories to Woods' 15. Nicklaus also has 19 major runners-up to Woods' seven. — Woods leads the way with 82 PGA Tour wins to Nicklaus' 73.Who played better competition Jack or Tiger? ›
|Players||PGA Tour wins||Major runner-ups|
But you may be wondering: What does the “LIV” in LIV Golf stand for anyway? Maybe to your surprise, “LIV” isn't an acronym. Instead, it's the Roman numeral for the number 54, as NBC Sports reports. The outlet explains each LIV Golf tournament will have 54 holes, 18 fewer than a typical PGA event.How much is Phil Mickelson Nicholson worth? ›
As for his net worth, the publication notes that Mickelson is worth $400 million, with most of his money coming from endorsements and sponsorships.Who is the richest man in golf? ›
1) Tiger Woods: $1.1 Billion
Tiger Woods, who has won 15 major championships and 82 PGA Tour events, is the richest golfer in the world, being the only golfer to touch the billion mark. In 2022, Tiger Woods' net worth reached a milestone of $1.1 billion.
The oldest golfer to win the Masters was Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1986 at the age of 46 years, 2 months and 24 days. The 'Golden Bear' won here six times between 1963 and 1986. The second oldest golfer to win was Tiger Woods, who won in 2019 at the age of 43 years, 3 months and 15 days.Who was the youngest to win the Masters? ›
That honour belongs to Tiger Woods, who blew away the field in 1997 to win by 12 shots over Tom Kite aged just 21 years, three months and 14 days. One other player has come close to beating Woods' tender age to win the tournament since that occasion.Who has the most runner up finishes in PGA history? ›
The Record-Holder: Jack Nicklaus, 19
That is almost double anyone else in golf history. Only two other golfers — Phil Mickelson and Arnold Palmer — have finished second in at least 10 majors.
How long was Brooks Koepka World Number 1? ›
This from a four-time majors winner who spent 47 weeks at No. 1 in the world, most recently in 2020.Was Brooks Koepka World Number 1? ›
The former world No. 1 climbed to 13th in the latest standings. Koepka has only earned world-ranking points from three events this year because LIV Golf, his home tour, has not yet been awarded points for its events.How many wins does Rickie have? ›
PGA TOUR Victories (5):What does Koepka win mean for liv? ›
So to the question 'what does this mean for LIV?', the answer is: nothing. Brooks Koepka's fifth major triumph, which puts him alongside legends of the game like Seve Ballesteros, Byron Nelson and Peter Thomson, is not the victory for LIV that Greg Norman and others would have you believe it is.How much did Liv pay Brooks Koepka? ›
That pales in comparison to the $72 million he earned between May 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023, according to Forbes' calculations, thanks to the roughly $50 million up-front signing bonus Koepka received from LIV last summer.How long was Jack Nicklaus number 1 in the world? ›
Mark McCormack's unofficial rankings had Jack Nicklaus as World No. 1 for nine years (468 weeks), with the Golden Bear winning 18 Majors, 73 PGA Tour events, and nine European Tour/DP World Tour titles.Has Jordan Spieth ever been the number one golfer in the world? ›
Jordan Alexander Spieth (/ˈspiːθ/; born July 27, 1993) is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour and former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is a three-time major winner and the 2015 FedEx Cup champion.Why can Liv golfers play in the PGA Championship? ›
So for LIV golfers to play in the PGA Championship, they would have to be past winners of the event, have won another major in the past five years, be a winner of the Players Championship during the past three years or finish inside the top 15 of last year's event.Was Rickie Fowler ever world number 1? ›
He was the number one ranked amateur golfer in the world for 36 weeks in 2007 and 2008. On January 24, 2016, he reached a career high fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking following his victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.Can Liv players play in PGA Championship? ›
The golfers who chose to play on LIV are not only banned from playing on the PGA Tour, but their performances on LIV have also stopped counting for world ranking points. As a result, fewer LIV players have enough points to qualify for golf's most significant events, The Majors.
What does Liv Golf stand for? ›
But you may be wondering: What does the “LIV” in LIV Golf stand for anyway? Maybe to your surprise, “LIV” isn't an acronym. Instead, it's the Roman numeral for the number 54, as NBC Sports reports. The outlet explains each LIV Golf tournament will have 54 holes, 18 fewer than a typical PGA event.How much does Rickie Fowler make? ›
|Official Payouts||Unofficial Payouts|
Despite the PGA Tour's decision, LIV golfers can still compete in golf's four majors — the Masters, the British Open, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship — since the organizing bodies that stage them can set their own entry rules, as Front Office Sports previously reported.