Throughout what has been a stunning comeback year on the PGA Tour there has been a familiar narrative that golf is better with a fully firing Tiger Woods.
Let's clear this up early. It unquestionably is. A prowling, free-flowing Woods inevitably draws millions of eyes to a sport desperately clamouring for attention in an ever-crowded market.
To realise the pulling power the 14-time major champion holds all you need have done was check social media during the final round of the US PGA Championship on Sunday.
Even in a star-studded leaderboard, which saw four of the world's top-10 players finish in a share of sixth or higher, online channels were dominated by talk of Woods.
There was a sense of deju vu at Bellerive. We'd been here just a month ago at Carnoustie where Woods threatened a sensational final day before eventually falling short at The Open.
And, just as Francesco Molinari did (in arguably more difficult circumstances having partnered Woods in round four), Brooks Koepka mastered the oft circus-like fanfare that follows Woods to clinch the Wanamaker Trophy with the lowest 72-hole score in a major after a textbook display of clutch scoring on Sunday.
It is an intriguing case with Koepka, who has now won three of the last seven majors without coming close to earning the acclaim he craves and deserves.
To put that achievement into context, Koepka now has the same amount of major titles as Jordan Spieth, two more than Justin Thomas and his good friend Dustin Johnson, and three more than Rickie Fowler.
Moreover, he is the first player since Woods in 2000 to complete a U.S. Open-PGA Championship double in the same year, was the first since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 to defend the former trophy and is just one of three players alongside Woods and Padraig Harrington to have won three majors in the space of a two-year period since 1990.
Three majors in two years, since 1990.— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 12, 2018
That's it. pic.twitter.com/QHbRQWbjwM
A lack of recognition for such achievements clearly rankles with Koepka, who said "I'm always overlooked" after defending the U.S. Open in June.
It was a theme he continued ahead of The Open, where he explored how feeling like he is up against it only fuels his desire.
"I always try to find something where I feel like I'm kind of the underdog and kind of put that little chip on my shoulder," he said.
"Even if you're number one, you've got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on and try to get better and better. I think I've done a good job of that.
"I need to continue doing that because, once you're satisfied, you're only going to go downhill from there. You try to find something to get better and better, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Koepka has a history of feeling undervalued that dates back to being overlooked by his favoured college, Florida, and not being considered for selection on the Walker Cup team after impressing at Florida State.
It is true that Koepka doesn't necessarily fit the mould. For one he acknowledges himself as an "athlete" rather than a "golfer", has previously described the sport as "kind of boring", pointed out that he is not a "golf nerd" and spoken of how he would rather be playing pro baseball.
That is part of what makes Koepka such an intriguing character, though, and should in no way devalue from an ever-expanding list of accomplishments that, on current evidence, will only continue to grow.
The smile says it all pic.twitter.com/Oa1PzCXxjv— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 12, 2018
So, revel in the sight of Woods competing among the elite once again and continue to live in hope that a 15th major, and possibly more, will arrive.
But surely now the time has come to give Koepka the recognition he has thoroughly earned as one of golf's biggest stars.
23 de enero 2019
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