Brooks Koepka wins in Phoenix
On Super Bowl Sunday, Brooks Koepka was able to claim the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, outlasting Martin Laird and Hideki Matsuyama for his first PGA Tour win.
Laird entered the day with a three shot lead, but it never really felt safe from the very start even though it wasn’t Koepka who made the initial charge. Laird birdied the first hole, but actually didn’t have honours on the second tee thanks to Hideki Matsuyama.
That eagle put Matsuyama within one of the lead, and at several points during the round, him, Laird and Koepka were near the top. Ryan Palmer made a run ahead of the pack and so did Bubba Watson, but he would have been better off having Ted Scott putt for him on the back nine and it ruined his chances. Business picked up though on the par-5 15th. With Koepka just off of the green in two shots, he pulled out the putter and drained the long eagle.
Laird would make his birdie and the two were tied heading to the 16th. They both made par, as did Matsuyama who was still only one back and they went to the drivable par-4 17th, where Koepka took out 3-wood and still nearly put it in the water behind the green. Laird sent his ball so far right that Donald Trump considered adopting him and would eventually three putt for his bogey. Koepka now had a one-shot lead on several players heading to 18, and considering that he was going for his first win, you’d think that maybe he would take it a little easier from the tee and try to be conserv…NOPE:
Koepka absolutely smashed that ball on 18 and after Matsuyama found the bunker, Laird was up next.
Laird was out, and when Matsuyama missed a birdie putt to force the playoff, Brooks Koepka had his first PGA Tour win.
- 1. Brooks Koepka -15
- T2. Bubba Watson -14
- T2. Hideki Matsuyama -14
- T2. Ryan Palmer -14
What The Win Means For Koepka
So, when he won Turkey at the end of 2014, we all thought that 2015 was going to be a big year for Koepka, but man, I don’t know if anyone thought that it would come this fast. Koepka famously went over to Europe to start his career when the tour got rid of the Q School route and he gained valuable reps on the European Tour alongside good friend Peter Uihlein and now that he’s got this win, he’s guaranteed to be on the PGA Tour for the next two years. His swing on 18 was so impressive to me because players in the past, likely those who didn’t grow up watching Tiger Woods, probably would have hit an iron on that tee or at the very least, didn’t take such a mighty lash at the ball with the big stick, but the new aggressive way to play isn’t just seen in Koepka. So many of the guys out there now are playing balls to the wall golf, and it’s a lot of fun.
Koepka’s now sitting 19th in the Official World Golf Rankings, an incredible jump considering that two years ago, he was hovering around the 400 mark. He’s the real deal, folks.
Justin Thomas, quickly climbing the #TourSauce rankings.
Not sure there’s any one image that better describes Tiger’s week than this one.
The fans in Phoenix are always a big part of the story, and this year was no different:
- Notables to miss the cut: Robert Allenby, Gary Woodland, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Jonas Blixt, Erik Compton, Chesson Hadley and Tiger Woods.
- If you haven’t taken the time to read Shane Ryan’s piece on Patrick Reed, you need to drop everything and do that right now.
- I took a look at Tiger’s week in this post right here.
- One problem with the “future” of golf coverage: During this tournament, Golf Channel was promoting next week’s Farmers Insurance Open and the only two guys mentioned in the promo were Tiger and Phil. They’re the big names for sure, but the thought that the two main draws from a TV standpoint are guys that missed the cut this week isn’t exactly inspiring.
- CBS really did a truly horrifying job with their coverage on Sunday, opting to show a ton of commercials and segments instead of a compelling, live golf tournament. Players were asked to give their thoughts on the Super Bowl, several FedEx Cup segments aired and perhaps worst of all, Koepka was barely shown at all until late in the day when he got to the very top of the board. This was after Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo came on the air to start the day and said that not many people knew who this kid was, and it goes without saying that it’s even more difficult to get to know him if he’s not shown on the broadcast. Do better, guys.
- Lastly, congrats to the Brooks Brothers, AKA Kyle Porter and Soly from No Laying Up. They selected Koepka with the first pick in our fantasy draft a few weeks ago and it was obviously a good call. I’m not bitter at all about having Martin Laird and having the victory snatched away from me. Not at all.
The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, and it’s a loaded field with Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Phil and the return of Dustin Johnson. Tiger will be there too, hopefully for more than just Thursday and Friday.