Brooks Koepka held on to win the 101st PGA Championship with a final-round 74 to finish at 8-under par 272, two shots clear of Dustin Johnson (-6).
With the win Koepka joined Ben Hogan (1951-53), Jack Nicklaus (1970-72), and Tiger Woods (2000-01, 2005-06) as the only players to win four majors in eight major starts.
Koepka also joined Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy as the only active PGA Tour players with at least four majors.
After his win at Bethpage Black, Koepka met with the media to take some questions. Here’s a round up of six of the best from the Q & A session.
1. DUMBEST QUESTION
After you celebrated with the trophy, you let out a big sigh of relief. How good did it feel to let that out, and why do that?
BROOKS KOEPKA: I mean, why? I mean, I just won (smiling). I tell you what, the hour spent from No. 11 to 14 was interesting. When they started chanting, “DJ” on 14, it actually kind of helped, to be honest with you.
I think it helped me kind of refocus and hit a good one down 15. I think that was probably the best thing that could have happened. It was very, very stressful, the last hour and a half of that round. That’s why I let a big sigh of relief go.
You alluded to it, but what’s going through your mind on the walk from 14 to 15 after the four straight bogeys?
KOEPKA: I knew I had a one-shot lead at that point. And then when I got to 15 fairway, I saw DJ missed it, and I knew I had two. I felt like as long as I had the lead, I was fine. I felt like, as long as I put it in the fairway, I was going to be all right. I was striking it well. I was putting it well. Hitting my lines.
From there, it was just kind of — you’ve got to reset. Hey, I just know if I can make pars coming in, I’ll be just fine. This golf course isn’t going to allow many birdies, and if you can par it to death, it’s coming in, especially, with the wind direction being straight in on 18, 16 being pretty much into, and 17 being straight off the left, it’s not the easiest wind coming in.
3. NEW YORK FANS
Ricky said on the back there that was the most nervous he had ever seen you, but then he said he didn’t actually know if you were nervous. He just kind of assumed. So, were you?
KOEPKA: No, I wasn’t nervous. I was just in shock, I think. I was in shock of what was kind of going on. On 14, we had 150 yards to the hole, and Harold hit 8 and the wind ate it up, and mine, it just died on me. You know, I made a good swing there, too. I felt like I just got stuck on a bogey train. If you’re going to put it in the rough, you’re going to have really rely on your putter.
I didn’t make one on 11. On 12, didn’t have the easiest of par looks. 13 was a bit disappointing, and 14 was just a bit of a shock to go four in a row. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve made four bogeys in a row. I don’t know if I ever have — I’m sure I have. But just had to reset. And like I said, I think everybody chanting, “DJ” kind of helped that.
4. SCOREBOARD WATCHING
You mentioned you were looking at the scoreboard all round long. Is that something you always do, and why?
KOEPKA: I’ve always done it. I feel it’s important to kind of know where you’re at, know where you stand, especially with a 7-shot lead. You want to know what you have to do coming down. And sometimes, even when it was going sideways, you know, there’s still a sense of relief that you have a 1-, 2-shot lead, you can definitely feed off that.
You know, I’ve earned the right to struggle a little bit. I’ve played so well, I can afford to struggle a little bit and get it and I’m just one hole closer to being done. That’s just how I kept looking at it. All I needed was one solid hole, one birdie I thought coming in would kind of slam the door home.
5. GETTING EXCITED FOR PGA TOUR EVENTS
Do you think as you win more majors, you may only get excited at majors from now on? Like is it going to be hard to fire up for regular Tour events?
KOEPKA: I mean, I’m trying. I’m trying my best. We were actually talking about this the other day. I finished second nine times, and every time I feel like I’ve finished second, I’ve run into a buzzsaw.
Honda this year, Keith played a fantastic 18th hole. I played solid. Very pleased.
Rod Pampling beat me in Vegas. Played unbelievable. I played great there.
I mean, I’ve played great a lot of times. I’ve just finished second so many times. I think that’s — second sucks, but I’ve played good every time. So I need to take it over to regular Tour events and start winning there, too. There’s no reason I can’t.