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U.S. Open Double Champ

The Double Champ does what he wants.

June 18, 2018 - 9:37 am

Brooks Koepka is a badass. That’s my take. And I could end it right there and just move on to the next topic because there’s really nothing more to say. Winning one U.S. Open is impressive. Being the first guy in nearly three decades to go back-to-back, though... is legendary. And badass. Especially how different the two wins were. As impressive as last year’s was, and no one can ever take it away from him, this one was so much more impressive given how badly the USGA jacked up that track on Saturday. 

So, after 72 holes of carnage and controversy, the guy walking away with the trophy was the same dude with the last one sitting above his fireplace. It's the U.S. Open Double Champ, Brooks Freaking Koepka. And while everybody else is losing their mind about another circus surrounding our national championship, Brooks just brought home Twins. 

Look, say this for the US Open. It always makes a scene. And this year was no different.  Starting with Eldrick beginning the proceedings with a triple on his first hole of the tourney. His weekend ended right then and there. So enough, honks, about this guy being back. He’s not. And. He’s not going to anything that matters, or anything that doesn’t, any time soon, or perhaps ever again. But he’s not the only one who was STRUGGGGALING. Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm all got cut, too. The Top 10 in the World Golf Rankings were a collective 51-over-par after Day 1, and Brooks Koepka was right in the middle of that carnage, with a 5-over 75. Add in bogeys on his 3rd and 4th holes on Friday, and the Double Champ was 7 over after 22 and looking like a guy ready to have some unexpected free time in the Hamptons on the weekend. 

But Koepka flipped the switch. After playing the first 22 in 7 over, he played the last 50 in six under. 

He birdied 17 and 18 on Friday to close his first nine at even. He came home in 31 for tournament-changing 66. And on a Saturday he managed to get around that circus in just 72 strokes -- a round good enough to have him tied for the lead and playing with his best buddy DJ in the second to last group. And from there, he attacked. Oh and did you know, Koepka and D.J. are boys. And that they lift together. Jerome Bettis being from Detroit is going to jump off a bridge if one person anywhere says that again about Koepka and D.J.  We get it...  they’re boys; they work out together. They’re actual athletes; world class athletes: if that’s the case, how come Johnson can make a putt from five feet when it matters the most. Anyway. We get it. They’re boys. They lift together. Give it a rest.  Johnson should probably spend less time in the gym, and more time with a sports psychologist if he wants to run with his dude, Brooks. Because while Captain America, Patty Reed, was charging with five birdies in his first seven holes, Koepka birdied 2, 3, and 5 to keep pace. While Tommy Fleetwood etched his name in the history books by carding a 63 and posting 2 over, Koepka kept coming up brass.  

He made absolutely macho pars on both 12 and 14 after driving into the rough. He saved bogey on 11, maybe the best bogey of the tournament when he fired his second shot across the green into a bunker, blasted out to 15 feet and jugged the putt. And he locked things down on the 621-yard, par 5 16th, playing dead into the wind, when he outdrove DJ down the right side of the fairway, fired a lay-up down the left side, and then stuffed his wedge to 3-feet for a breathing room, kick-in birdie. 

After a brass iron into the par 3 17th and a nice bogey from the grandstand on 18, Koepka is your Double Champ. And the guy with just 3 career PGA wins has 2 of them, back-to-back, in the hardest tournament on the planet -- the first guy to do that since Curtis Strange did it almost 30 years ago.

Remember, he hurt his wrist and missed the Masters. But he's healthy now, and he looks a helluva lot like a guy who is built for major championships. A long game that's an absolute lazer show. A flat stick that came up absolutely brass all weekend. And the mental toughness of the other guy draped in the swoosh who used to do these kind of things on Sunday afternoon while everybody else melted. 

The Double Champ does what he wants. And as long as he stays healthy, that might mean making noise at Carnoustie in a couple weeks across the pond. 

The game has changed, once again, and Koepka no longer has to sweat not getting the run he thinks he deserves.   Because while we’re all guilty of rushing in to say who might be the next face of the sport, it might this dude.  And if so, the sport is in very good hands.