Koepka traces golfing success to Scotland

Koepka traces golfing success to Scotland

It was just five years ago that Brooks Koepka won the Scottish Hydro Challenge to earn a spot on the European Tour.

He’s got fond memories of that, and even bigger things in mind in Scotland this week.

“Right now I’m focused on just winning,” the two-time U.S. Open champion said Tuesday. “That’s the only thing I’ve got on my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot and just tired of it.”

Koepka was an aspiring young pro in search of his first big break when he came to Europe in 2012 to play the Challenge Tour. He won three times, including the victory in 2013 that got him on the European Tour.

His life has changed a lot since then, but Koepka remembers the fun he had on his way up.

“I didn’t have any options when I turned pro except to come over here and play,” he said. “I enjoyed it. And I know I’ve said this a million times, it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing golf. Probably the funnest time of my life coming over here and playing. I enjoyed it way more than I probably do now, playing on the tour.”

Koepka qualified for his first British Open the day after his win in Scotland, but not before having to get out of a taxi to help change a flat tire on the way to play in the qualifier.

After winning a second U.S. Open title last month at Shinnecock, he’s eager to try to win an Open on this side of the pond.

“The last major I played I won, so I’ve got confidence,” he said.

It’s 2017 trophy time for Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson has been given one trophy already this week.

The top-ranked player in the world can only hope he gets one more.

Johnson was honored Tuesday with the Mark H. McCormack Award for being No. 1 in the world more weeks than anyone in 2017. Johnson claimed the top spot in February 2017 and held it the rest of the year. He has been No. 1 this entire year except for four weeks when Justin Thomas replaced him. McCormack was behind the creation of the world ranking, which became official in 1986.

Johnson likes his chances to be on top of the leaderboard.

“I feel the game is in really good form this week. I’ve had four weeks off, so I’ve had a lot of rest,” Johnson said. “I feel good about the game. I’ve had a lot of practice. I got here Saturday and played the course quite a few times. I think it’s going to be a good test.”

Johnson has won only one major, the 2016 U.S. Open, and is eager to add another to his trophy case after losing a lead in the U.S. Open last month to eventual winner Koepka.

“I’ve given myself a lot of chances,” he said. “But as we all know, it’s very hard to win in a major. You’ve got to play four really good rounds, and everything in your game has to be working.”

DeChambeau stays on the level in practice

Bryson DeChambeau has always done things his own way, including playing clubs that are all the same length and using a protractor to help him read greens.

But when DeChambeau and his caddie started measuring a hill on the green with some sort of a level during a practice round Tuesday, Tiger Woods had seen enough.

“It’s downhill,” Woods yelled across the green with a smile as DeChambeau and his caddie spent several minutes taking careful measurements.

DeChambeau’s playing style is unique but so far successful. He is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour and finished tied for 25th at the U.S. Open. He is playing in his second British Open, missing the cut last year at Royal Birkdale.

Associated Press

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