Brooks Koepka has been hailed as “Tiger-esque” as he closes in on retaining his US PGA title – and take another step towards his aim of winning “double digit” Majors.
The American, who takes a seven-shot lead into the final round, is set to win his fourth Major title in under two years by blending power and precision on Bethpage Black.
Only three other players in the modern era have previously achieved the feat – Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Woods.
The reigning US Open and US PGA champion Koepka revealed this week of his desire for domination in the Majors. “I’ve got a number,” he said. “I don’t see why you can’t get to double digits.”
Speaking before the final round, Graeme McDowell said: “He will be Tiger-esque if he wins. We have to start talking about: Is he the next Tiger? His performance here is insanely good.”
What is even more remarkable about Koepka’s performance in the Majors is that he has only won two regular PGA Tour events.
And McDowell added: “I don’t think we are talking about his total domination because he hasn’t played well in the run-of-the-mill stuff. He hasn’t dominated away from the Majors. Whereas Tiger won ten times a year and whatever he did, silly stuff.
“But let’s be honest, the Majors are what we measure ourselves by when it’s all said and done. It’s all about 18 Jack, 15 Tiger really.”
And Rory McIlroy said: “In these events he’s definitely playing on a different level than anyone else in the game.”
Woods led the 2000 US Open by 10 shots going into the final round at Pebble Beach – and won by 15.
Billy Horschel said: “I was watching it yesterday and kept thinking, man, this is like Pebble Beach in 2000. He’s just playing a course no one else is playing.”
Koepka carded a solid level-par 70 in the third round to end his run of 11 sub-par rounds in Majors stretching back to last year’s Open.
Xander Schauffele said: “It is a weird thing. This is a Major championship, and everyone is here to win, but there’s only one guy who’s absolutely just destroying this place. So, I’m sure he’s having a blast. But for the rest of us, he’s making it awfully boring.”
Koepka has been motivated by a perceived lack of respect and recognition for his achievements, and his lack of star quality saw him omitted from ESPN’s top-20 list of dominant athletes last year when a horse (Justify) was included.
But he has also raised his game off the course as he has grown in confidence.
He branded slow play as embarrassing and said Sergio Garcia was “acting like a child” when he damaged the greens in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m just trying to be me,” said the 29-year-old. “I think I’m doing a better job of that, letting you guys kind of into my life or not viewing you guys as the enemy, which I kind of did maybe earlier on in my career; where now it’s, ‘Listen, this is who I am, and I’m not going to change for anybody, I’m just going to show you guys who I really am.’”