Is Brooks Koepka The New Tiger Woods?
By R.J. Smiley
The Psychic watched the Saturday and Sunday telecast of the Bethpage Black version of the PGA Championship with a heavy heart. His all time favorite golfer, Tiger Woods, was no longer on the golf course.
During the first two days of the Championship, Brooks Koepka dominated. Koepka, Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods (winners of the last three major championships) made up the marque pairing for rounds one and two. Koepka was so dominate during those first two rounds that if he had been a partner with Stevie Wonder in a 4-ball match against Molinari and Woods, Koepka/Wonder would have won both days.
In his parting words in the press tent, Woods was polite, he showered Koepka with kind words. He did not bitch about the golf course, like some others who did not make the cut. “Tiger Woods is good for the game of golf. Will Brooks Koepka attract new fans? Will Brooks Koepka lead a new legion of youth to the game?” the Psychic thought.
The more the Psychic thought about Koepka, who is the undisputed king of the current era of golf and the winner of four of the last eight major championships, his concern for Koepka’s ability to grow the great game grew.
In the back of his mind the Psychic already knew, “Brooks Koepka does not have Tiger Woods’ Pied Piper affect on sports fans.”
Since the Masters, The Psychic recalls several non-golfing friends ask, “Did you watch Tiger win the Masters I have not watched golf in several years, but when I learned that Tiger was near the top of the leaderboard, I watched every shot on Sunday.” “Tiger is great!” “Tiger outfoxed them.” “Tiger is back.”
The Psychic remembers when a 6-year-old Tiger Woods was featured on the Johnny Carson Show. At that early age, he was predicted to be the golfer of the future. As a young cub, Tiger chipped balls into a basket and sank 10’ putts, one after the other. The Psychic vividly recalls watching the teenaged Tiger winning back-to-back USGA Junior Championships. In the closing holes of his second U.S. Junior victory, the young Tiger simply willed his ball into the hole to win the Championship. That Championship was a dress rehearsal for Tiger’s, on one leg, victory in the U.S. Open over Rocco Mediate.
The Tiger Woods effect single handedly forced stuffy private golf clubs to expand their membership options. Tiger Woods led the surge of junior golfers in his hay day.
“Will Koepka emulate Woods?” That was the burning question as the Psychic entered his study and uncovered the crystal globe.
With wrinkled brow, the Psychic first looked into Koepka’s past. Instantly, Koepka was shown at his family home in southeast Florida growing up in a family of athletes. His father was a great baseball player, but Brooks and his brother, Chase, both became professional golfers.
Brooks was a good high school golfer and attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. The Psychic stared intently into the glowing ball watching Koepka win three college tournaments. Those victories propelled him to All American status three times. The Psychic watched the 2012 U.S. Open where Koepka, an amateur, was overmatched and missed the cut by 6 strokes.
As a young professional on the European Tour, the Psychic watched Koepka improve his game and his physical conditioning. Then he started winning. In the last eight major championships, Brooks Koepka has dominated.
Suddenly the light from within the crystal ball flashed like an old flash bulb. The flash was the accumulation of illumination from all the flat screen televisions, streaming smart phones and tablets. All these digital devices were focused on one event, the 2019 Masters. Tiger appeared to walk on water as he avoided disaster at Amen Corner and rode the slope for victory on number 16.
As the scene shifted to the 2018 PGA Championship, the light from within the globe dimmed slightly. It was like the down volume button on a remote control had accidentally touched one tick. The audience was huge as Koepka edged, fan favorite, Tiger at Bellerive. The combined glow of digital devices dimmed once more, this time drastically. The much smaller audience was watching Koepka, the #1 golfer in the World, limp to victory at Bethpage. Without Tiger in the hunt, the television rating was among the lowest in recent history.
The Star, the Pied Piper, the smiling hero, the super athlete, the man kids want to emulate, the man that women dream about, TIGER, was absent; and so were the fans.
“Enough,” the Psychic thought, as the covered the crystal ball. “Koepka will win more majors. Koepka will remain at or near the top of the World golf rankings, but Koepka will never replace Tiger in the eyes of golf fans.”