Does Brooks Koepka Get the Respect he Deserves?

At the age of 29, Brooks Koepka has proved that he is an all star player and his performance in the past four years is rare in the game of golf. In the beginning of his career, Brooks sat back quietly and kept his opinions to himself but as of lately, he has decided to chime in and give his opinion when he feels appropriate. It’s clear that Brooks has gained the confidence in himself to put his thoughts on the line and his incredible track record is there to back him up. Since Brooks has decided to voice his opinion. It’s caused other players and members of the media to choose sides. This article will discuss Brooks long list of success in his short career and will attempt to decide if Koepka gets the respect he deserves.

In order to understand how Koepka managed to win four majors in only six total career wins, we need to start at the beginning of his career success. His first win came in 2015 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open when he was only 24 years old. At the time, nobody knew who Brooks Koepka was and certainly nobody expected him to have four majors under his belt in the upcoming four years.

After his first career win in 2015, Koepka was quite for the next two years. He had some decent finishes but was never able to close the door during this time period. This would all change for him by the summer of 2017. The majors of 2017 were dominated by Brooks Koepka and he would earn the lowest cumulative score of any other player on tour for all four majors with a total of 21 under. Although he won only the U.S. Open that year, it was a clear sign that he would be a threat in the future.

Does Brooks Koepka Get the Respect he Deserves?

The 2017 U.S. Open was played at Erin Hills in Wisconsin for the first time. Little did we know, we were about to see the beginning of one of the best runs in golf in recent years. Erin Hills presented the players with the opportunity to go low even though it was shaping up to be a controversial venue during the weeks leading up to the tournament because of the length of the fescue. The course conditions didn’t seem to affect Brooks at all as he got hot on the back during the final round with a handful of birdies on the back nine and finished a tournament that seemed to be destined to be his. He tied Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open record by finishing at -16. This would be the start of an incredible streak that has yet to end two years later.

Brook’s next victory would be one of the most important of his career. It would occur a year later at Shinnecock Hills where he would achieve the rare back to back U.S. Open title. This would make him only the seventh player in the history of golf to accomplish that honor. Brooks ended up winning this tournament with a final score of +1. This would be only one shot better than Tommy Fleetwood and only two shots better than his friend Dustin Johnson. This would be his second major victory and would put him in an elite group of players who have won multiple majors.

As the conversation turned to another major win by Koepka, the media began to cover him more than ever and he really began to make a name for himself on tour. Until this point, Brooks mostly kept to himself and his press conferences were short and to the point. As we know, staying back in the shadows is not the best way to become a crowd favorite, even if you are winning majors left and right. It didn’t take long for him to realize this and he would soon begin to change his ways but first, he wasn’t done winning.

Does Brooks Koepka Get the Respect he Deserves?

As the 2018 season progressed to the PGA Championship, Brooks a favorite to take home the Wanamaker trophy but could he really do it again? The PGA Championship in 2018 was played at Bellerive Country Club near St. Louis Missouri. The leaderboard heading into the final round of the PGA Championship showcased big names at the top. Among the superstars with a chance to win on Sunday you had Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari, Jon Rahm, and Tiger Woods. In the end, Koepka would get the better of Tiger woods and won by two strokes with a final score of -16. This would be one the highlights of his career as it came down to him beating the legendary Tiger Woods.

His most recent victory came at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Brooks came out swinging for the first round by shooting a course record 63 which also tied the tournaments lowest 18 hole round score. From the time he stepped out on the first tee, Brooks Koepka dominated Bethpage Black and was able to hold onto the lead through Sunday for his fourth major. It would make him the first to ever go back to back with the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

As we sit in May of 2019, Brooks Koepka has six career wins with two majors and he has come out of his shell. During the time between his 2018 PGA Championship win and this year’s PGA Championship win, he has really created more of reputation off the course. He has notably weighed in on the new rules changes, pace of play, and even Sergio Garcia’s meltdown in Saudi Arabia where he was disqualified for damaging multiple greens. He was quoted saying Sergio was “acting like a child” and to “grow up.” This was a rare take for Brooks up until now.

Does Brooks Koepka Get the Respect he Deserves?

He is a firm believer that if you’re going to give your opinion, you better back it up and he goes above and beyond backing it up with the wins he has been able to achieve in the past few years. Brooks has also voiced his opinion on the issue of pace of play on tour and claims that ‘nobody has the balls to penalize slow play.’ Rory McIlroy is one of many to take Brooks’ side on this issue. It’s interesting to see Brooks transition from a player who kept to himself to a player that speaks up and voices his opinions.

Until this point, Brooks never got the recognition and the spotlight that he truly deserved. It’s difficult to directly point out the reason he never seemed to have the media support that his fellow players received but I believe it was mostly because he never put himself in the center of attention and kept to himself . Even after he’d win a major, he would get right back to his usual routine and show up again when it was time. By keeping to himself, I believe it made it difficult for people to form an opinion on him which would directly contribute to his lack of coverage on the Golf Channel and other golf publications. Although he stayed out of the news besides winning majors, he still has critics.

Brandel Chamblee was one of his biggest critics until his most recent win. He criticized Brooks for losing weight during the golf season for an ESPN The Magazine body shoot but it didn’t seem to affect his ability to win majors. Chamblee recently also questioned Brooks’ mental toughness and suggested that he may not be able to hang with his peers. Koepka admitted that these comments made him very angry. Chamblee caught a lot of flack for these takes as it’s quite clear that Brooks has what it takes to win on the highest level. After Brooks shot a course record 63 at Bethpage this year, Brandel responded by saying, “I felt like he was giving me the finger for 4.5 hours.”

Playing well and winning majors seems to be his way of proving the doubters wrong and he shows no signs of stopping soon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Koepka at the top of the leaderboards for a long time to come. He has earned his spot as one of the biggest stars in golf and it will be exciting to see if he can continue this streak. Brooks Koepka certainly hasn’t received the credit he deserves in the past couple years but moving forward, I believe he certainly will.