NEW YORK, Feb 6 ― World number two Brooks Koepka likes the PGA Championship moving from August to May, saying four major tournaments in as many months brings a better chance at a Grand Slam.
“If I can get on a nice run, you can rattle off all the majors, which would be nice,” Koepka said yesterday.
The PGA of America brought the 28-year-old American, a three-time major champion, to Bethpage Black ahead of the 101st PGA Championship, with Koepka defend his crown at the suburban New York public course on May 16-19.
“I'm super excited,” Koepka said. “New York fans are a lot of fun, and any time you can play in front of them and you're doing well, that's an added bonus. I know the golf course and I'm excited to play it.”
The event shifts from August for the first time, moving to second in the calendar order of major tournaments from last. It follows the Masters in April and precedes the US Open in June and British Open in July.
Koepka, who won his second consecutive US Open title last year at nearby Shinnecock, likes the move.
“It's definitely a lot different, but I think it's a good change,” Koepka said. “I like the fact that everything is so congested, or feels that way, from the Players (Championship) in March to basically when the Open is done.
“You've seen guys get hot and they go for four months where they just play some incredible golf and hopefully I can set myself up to do that.”
Koepka recalled the electric final-round atmosphere last year at Bellerive when he denied a late charge by 14-time major winner Tiger Woods that had spectators at a fever pitch.
“Now that Tiger is back, obviously that's going to bring a different atmosphere, a different sense,” Koepka said.
“Any time you're seen like that in a great sporting town with Tiger Woods on his almost march to history to come back and win, I've never seen anything like that on the golf course. It was probably the coolest experience I've had as a golfer with fans.”
While he will be defending on a totally different course, Koepka is counting on good memories to boost his chances at another major back-to-back feat, which hasn't been managed at the PGA Championship since Woods won in 2006 at Medinah and 2007 at Southern Hills.
“It's a little different when you step foot on the grounds and you're defending,” Koepka said. “All those memories from the year before kind of come back in, and I think it's important when you go to show up and really give a good defense of your title.
“You always try to come back and make sure you're in a good spot to defend your title, and that's what I'm hoping to do.” ― AFP