OPINION: Just what's wrong with Brooks Koepka? Over the past two days, he has broken half-way scoring record in major championships of two clear shots with surprising 63 and 65 rounds. And yet there is something about Koepka that seems to rub people in the wrong way.
Going golf fans so worked up because the young American is a grated beef that looks like he's just jogging out of an episode of Baywatch after saving some nubile inflatable from the pounding surf or is it because he says things that are meant to beat the big game?
If it is later, I have a problem. What is this with respectless respect? Half of it is completely false. Nick Kyrgios is supposed to beat the tennis game. What a load of Slazenger balls. Have you heard the podcast he just did with New York Times author Ben Rothenberg. Apart from the fact that Kyrgios has more "like" in his conversation than Cristiano Ronaldo on Facebook, it's amazing.
Kyrgios had just beat Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of the Rome Open, a match he opened with a forearm service and almost missed out because he slept through his alarm. Come on, Nick, what's with this forearm that serves. It is disrespectful.
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How idiotic is that? If any geezer wants to stand two miles behind the baseline why not let him quickly underarm serve. Do something different. Jazza to it. As Kyrgios says, "I don't understand why I have to respect them automatically. All they do is hit a ball over the net … It's just tennis."
This seems to me to be a completely normal view of the world. Kyrgios is bemused by people who "think they are important, because they are good at tennis." We should all be disappointed. It's really weird. Just as strange as people think, they are important because they are good at rugby. Or golf.
And then Kyrgios unloaded at Djokovic. When you read these things in the cold light of the writing, you must not show. They are a gentle humor in Kyrgyz voice. He sounds like a guy we would all want a beer with. It wasn't rant or angry. It was "Hmm, what happens to this guy?"
If you missed it, that's what Kyrgios said about Djokovic; "I just feel he has a sick obsession with wanting to be alike, he wants to be like Roger (Federer). He wants to be sad so much that I just can't resist him. All this fortress (when Djokovic turns to everyone parts of the court) are so cringeworthy.
"He is a champion in the sport, one of the best we will ever see. Honestly, I think he will get the Grand Slam Count. I think he will pass Federer … No matter how many grand slams he wins, he never to be the greatest for me, simply because i have played him twice and i am sorry, but if you can not beat me, you are not the greatest all the time.
"If you look at my daily exercise and how much I practice and how much I put in, it is zero compared to him. Federer will always be the best of all hands. Djokovic just gives me the wrong path. He always says what he thinks he needs to say, never says his opinion.
"The celebration just kills me. That's what I do next time if I play him and I hit him. I make his celebration in front of him. It would be fun."
Yes, I expect that. But let's not forget that Djokovic used to make very funny imitations of the best players when he was a child and they really didn't like it. So maybe he thought it was easier to adapt. Perhaps he thought it was easier to false respect.
But give me Kyrgios some day. And it takes me back to Koepka, because in an odd way he is a combination of Kyrgios and Djokovic. He comes in trouble to talk about his mind. It is Kyrgios part. But when he is super good when he wins, he just doesn't get a tiger or a Mickelson or Federer or Nadal. And it is torn as it digs at Djokovic ..
Before the PGA Championship, Koepka said he thought he would win because he was the most confident player in the field. "I see no reason why I can't get double digits (in big profits). What is the purpose of fearing someone."
Koepka said about the 156 players who started, "80 of them I will just beat". Half of the rest will not play well. He comes of course. Then you are "down to about 35, some of them will pressure to come in. Just leaving you with some more and you have to beat these guys … If you just hang out, it will be good things to happen. I dummy down it . "
Of course, Jack Nicklaus said something very similar, but it was okay because Jack said it. But Koepka. What has he done. Well, he has won three of the last seven majors he recorded and also finished second in the last month's champion. And he knows he should have won at Augusta. Tigers had two big strokes of luck, while Koepka put a well-hit ball into the water as the wind shifted and knocked him out and some players out and he three-putted five times.
But Koepka did well, said how cool tiger's win he really sounded like he meant it, and is now just a couple of rounds away from becoming one of the game's greats. Maybe he's already. When he shot 63 in the opening round at Bethpage, he joined Greg Norman and Vijay Singh as the only men who had shot 63 twice in a major.
Now he has broken the all-time big half-way scoring record with two clear strokes. His last 13 rounds in the major championships are 65, 63, 70, 69, 71, 66, 66, 66, 63, 69, 68, 72 and 66. It's absurd. It is on average 67. Koepka can also follow up. The average after a 63 in majors is 72.5. There is an inevitable let down. We are human. But Koepka has backed his 63 by 66 and 65.
It was a narrative moment when Tiger went down the road at Augusta. He wanted to know what Koepka did ahead. No one else, just Koepka, for Koepka is different. After tiger watering in Augusta, Padraig Harrington, "Scary Tiger's Back." Not to Koepka. For the whole of his career, the opposition has strived for Tiger. Playing in front of Tiger's gallery, Koepka killed him here, on the track where Tiger won 17 years ago.
At halfway, Koepka led the PGA with seven shots from Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott. Koepka can be caught. We all remember what happened to Greg Norman or even Spieth himself. But if Koepka rolls the field, then what. Nicklaus hated when he used to beat Arnold Palmer. But he became the beloved golden bear.
Maybe we just see the machine in Koepka when all we want is the magic. We want Tiger's miracle shot or Federer's grace, the almost spiritual moments that make the human condition unusual. It lifts us from boredom. But sooner or later, almost all great athletes, from McEnroe to Nicklaus, find a way into our hearts. And so maybe Koepka will also love a day and America will become a nation of Brooklovers