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10 November 2018
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Stealth bomber

by Neil Connolly, in Sport · 16-08-2018 10:44:00 · 0 Comments

Brooks Koepka is becoming a household name, creeping into our consciousness by winning the Majors in an unglamorous, understated fashion. That’s now two US Opens to his name and a USPGA Championship. Yet at the Ryder Cup two years ago, he was really a rookie who nobody knew. Three in such close proximity, is truly worthy of note.

Stealth bomber

With now four Tour victories and three of them being Majors, perhaps this guy should be taken a lot more seriously than he has been. Scarily he now has as many Majors as Spieth and more than Greg Norman. He has collected them all with the on looking public wishing someone else had won. which is harsh yet none the less true.
His PGA victory, last weekend, had a lot of similarities to Molinari’s Open triumph where Tiger was prowling, growling and fist pumping yet the eventual winner serenely kept to his quiet plan, to ease over the line with minimal fuss.
On the Tiger front, the popular consensus is that he is back and now the question isn’t whether he is capable of winning number 15, as he clearly can win, it’s more around will Tiger put in a back nine on Sunday which will be worthy of old. If he does, then the young crowd will see whether they can compete against the great man.
I talked a little about the workout mentality which Koepka and fellow stablemate Dustin Johnson undertake; where the two players have now become tournament recluses, with their team around the house consisting of fitness coach, physios, chef and family. Gone are the days of potentially bumping into the players in the local McDonalds. Your best bet is to find the best gym in the area and camp out there for the week.
Six days a week Koepka has kept to his regime of two hours in the gym, then practice. His arms look more like those of a line backer than a golfer but then you hear the numbers being produced and see the longest of holes being tamed; perhaps the holistic approach is the way to go?
Whilst watching the coverage via CBS (goodness knows what Sky were thinking losing the rights to show the PGA Championship) the numbers being reported were remarkable. When asked on third round Saturday, at a press conference, “What do you Bench (press)?” he said it wasn’t that impressive around 225 lbs up to 14 times; which then shows you why a 248 yard par four is now a four iron, for him.
Which is the more scary: a four iron 248 yards, minimum of two hours in the gym six days a week, or bench pressing 225 lbs fourteen reps during a tournament and then going out and winning the tournament?
I don’t know to be honest which one stands out the most, I guess because they are all linked together. One doesn’t go without the other. It does make me smile when somebody comes into the studio for a lesson with the specific brief for me, to get them to hit the ball further. Yet when I ask what kind of stretching regime or fitness programme they are on they look as if I am adding two and two and getting six.
The game has now officially changed and the game is now a sport in which athletes compete.
The athletes now move onto a quiet week before the FedEx Playoffs begin. This is quite interesting because the whole of the American Team and a large contingent of the European Team are getting set for the run of four events and then the week after they are coming to Paris to defend the Ryder Cup.
What is interesting is that Tiger’s name is now being fired around as a possible Captain’s Pick, and with Furyk being a huge fan of Tiger alongside the newly humble, crowd-pleasing persona, who would bet against the force of Tiger being viewed as a positive influence on the Squad.
I am not sure how I feel about Tiger squaring up against us next month, regarding the strengthening or weakening of Team USA. What I do feel is that it will add to the occasion hugely, so let’s hope he has a good run in the FedEx.

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Edition 1500
10 November 2018
Edition: 1500

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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