PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka, big-game hunter, is in his element

LOUISVILLE — To Brooks Koepka, golf is a simple proposition. There are majors, and then there’s everything else. American tournaments, international tournaments, PGA Tour, LIV Golf … none of them matter to Koepka except in how they feed into the four most important tournaments of the year.

Asked on Wednesday to break down why he’s won three PGA Championships in the last eight years, he responded, “No idea. I just like majors.”

Asked if he ever feels a lack of focus once major week begins, he replied, “No. I'm pretty locked in once I get here.”

Asked if he’s looking forward to facing Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, he said, “I'm just looking forward to a major championship. … Something I look forward to all year.”

You get the idea. Koepka builds his entire year around majors.

It’s paid off. He’s the defending champion at the PGA Championship, and his five career majors are the most of any active player not named Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. He’s posted at least three top-7 finishes at every one of the majors.

Which is why it came as something of a shock that he finished T45 at this year’s Masters, completely out of contention. He was embarrassed by the performance, and he paid for it.

“Dedicated a lot of time and effort and then for me to go out and play like that is not what I expect of myself, I don't think what [his team members] expect of me,” he said. “Had some difficult punishment workouts. It was long hours on the range. Just worked with everybody and really tried to go back to the fundamentals, and I think that was the important thing.”

The work resulted in a victory in Singapore — his LIV Tour-leading fourth, not that he’s worried about that — and more momentum heading into this week.

“I always enjoy competing against these guys, and any time you get the best, it's always good,” he said. “You just want them to play their best, too. You want to go out and win it.”

Koepka’s search for No. 6 begins on Thursday morning. It’ll be a mild shock if he’s not in the hunt come Sunday afternoon.

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