The title is quick and to the point. No sense in mincing words when it comes to talking about a guy who can overpower Major Championship golf courses the way that Brooks Koepka has.

For some reason or another the golfing fan, in general, is not enamored with Koepka and personally, I don’t I understand it. He exemplifies what the modern professional golfer is about nowadays. He’s the perfect blend of a workout machine and neatly intersects where golf technology and Kinesiology meet. Thus creating the proverbial “video game athlete”. Much fun (in jest) has been made of what would comprise of his Champion’s Dinner in the event that he won The Masters. A protein shake bar with all of the fixings like Kale, Quinoa, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Root to say the least all being readily available.

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Photo Credit: Globe and Mail

But the reality is that he’s a machine and if you think about it, Brooks has already put together a Hall of Fame-worthy career together. He has four Major Championships to his name and it certainly is easy to see him capturing more. Think about it… he has four and according to my figures (round figures) he’s about a quarter of the way to 18 Majors. I’m not putting pressure on Koepka but is 18 or 19 a number that the 29-year-old can approach or overtake? A lot would have to fall into place neatly and he would have to stay healthy for it to happen. But it is entirely possible.

Koepka is downright dangerous in Major Championships. Yes, Brooks has borderline superhuman strength or so his growing legend would have you believe. But if there’s a variable that he has that some of his competitors may not it’s his mental toughness. He’s shown that he can hit towering drives, hit delicate approach shots into greens and make putts when he needs to. But he also has shown us in consecutive U.S. Open’s (2017 and 2018) that he has the uncanny ability to win an event when it’s a battle of attrition. Mental toughness when things are seemingly spiraling downward and out of control. But he gets himself righted and finds a way to win.

Look no further than Sunday at the 2019 PGA Championship this past weekend at Bethpage State Park on the insanely difficult Black Course which measured a paltry 7,500 yards this past weekend for the field. He jumped out to a quick lead on Day One and never looked back. The final round proved to be more interesting than it should have been as his seemingly untouchable lead was within reach. But in a similar fashion, like I’ve already alluded to he held on and got some help along the way to win yet another Major “Battle of Attrition”. The cream of the crop rose to the top at Bethpage State Park and the 2019 PGA Championship. Kopeka (-8) and runner-up Dustin Johnson (-6) were six and four shots respectively ahead of the nearest competition. Going to show once again that if you grow out courses and penalize misses you can protect a golf course and their architect even with technology and player development being at the forefront.

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Photo Credit: CNN

I like Brooks Koepka. He speaks his mind and isn’t shy about criticizing other players or issues that are seemingly wrong with the game of golf. Look at his comment regarding slow play stating that it was “kind of embarrassing” or the latest of infamous tantrums of Sergio Garcia earlier this year. He sounds off on the same things that I do and in a way, he’s like my “spirit animal”. Golf really does need more notable guys like him to sound off and call out their peers or state what’s wrong with the game on TOUR or otherwise. I commend Brooks on doing this guy and more importantly congratulations on your 4th Major.

 

Koepka’s WITB

TaylorMade Golf M5 10.5* (Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70 TX)

TaylorMade Golf M2 Tour HL 16.5* (Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX)

Nike Golf Vapor Fly Pro 3-iron (Fujikura Pro 95 Tour Spec X)

Mizuno Golf JPX 919 Tour 4-PW (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100)

Vokey Design SM7 Raw (52-12F, 56-10S); Vokey SM4 TVD Raw (60-08M) (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400)

Scotty Cameron Newport 2 SLT T10

Titleist Pro V1x

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

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There was no way that I was going to let this week’s Tour stop pass by without writing about it. Sure I didn’t write about the Open Championship last week but what was there to really say? Two words? Jordan Spieth. That pretty much summed it up… his “hootspa” is borderline legendary or better yet special. I really felt bad for Matt Kuchar. But enough about last week and it’s time to write about this week.

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Welcome To “The Abbey”

Our National Championship is on a very tough place on the schedule and I really wish something could be changed. There is prestige and a rich history when it comes to Canada’s Open. However as it stands it’s right after The Open Championship and right before The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational so many notables tend to sit out. This year the RBC Canadian Open was held in nearby Oakville, Ontario which serves as a home to Golf Canada headquarters, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and the Jack Nicklaus designed Glen Abbey Golf Course. The site of this year’s RBC Canadian Open. This year was the 28th time that “The Abbey” has hosted the illustrious event. #OurOpen is uniquely Canadian with goalie mask tee markers and chairs that say “Quiet Eh?!” on the back of them.

 

 

 

I was at the venue to get a feel for what the course was like this year after last year’s tough conditions. In 2016 our entire region was mired in a drought of epic proportions and even Glen Abbey fell victim. I arrived at the course shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday to take in some practice rounds. As I arrived at the site and walked through the main entrance I caught a glimpse of Hole#8 where Charley Hoffman was hitting a few shots. It was completely obvious that the weather had been much better than last year and as a result the grounds crew at “The Abbey” had a course well-prepped. After taking in some of the Opening Ceremonies which saw legends gather for the newest inductions into the Canadian Hall Of Fame I walked the golf course. By the way some of the names on hand included Lorie Kane, Mike Weir, Bob Vokey (whom until recently I never knew was a Canadian) and Mr. Jack Nicklaus.

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Greatness and a Legend. Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Vokey.

As I strolled across the 16th fairway I finally realized how lush and pristine Glen Abbey truly was. The course was immaculate!! A job well done to the superintendent and the crew. Upon looking at the course I knew that we were going to be seeing some low scoring rounds. Upon finishing my walk around “The Abbey” (I have never played it) I decided to watch the guys on the range. From the long hitting Bubba Watson, the young gun Smylie Kaufman to the wiley veteran (and former RBC Canadian Open Champion Vijay Singh) to last year’s champion Jhonnotan Vegas whom I casually said “Go get it again” to in passing. Little did I realize that my semi-prognostication would turn out. Honestly, I was disappointed to not see Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar or Brandt Snedeker whom were apparently at another local course for a corporate outing. I managed to get a few failed selfies (tough with DSLR cameras) with Shane Lowry, Ollie Schniederjans, Nick Watney and Ben Crane to name a few. By the way… Ben is a pretty cool cat.

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The author and Ollie Schiederjans

So the tournament was played and as I figured we saw some real low scoring throughout the tournament. The weather was comfortable, the winds were pretty much benign all week and from I could ascertain the greens were receptive. Robert Garrigus tied a course record with a 62. Hudson Swafford fired a -7 (65). Martin Flores had back to back 66’s, Charley Hoffman was the 54 hole leader after a -7 on Saturday getting him to -17 overall. Then came Sunday.

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Bubba Watson unleashing on the range.

A leaderboard that was loaded with scores that would win nearly every tournament on Tour. With many big names not in the field (more on that later) there was still some star power on the front page of the leaderboard. Consistent low rounds were shot all week by the rain-softened Glen Abbey. On Sunday Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter, Tony Finau were all right there. Lurking not too far behind them was World #1 Dustin Johnson. But after carding four round totals of -21 a playoff consisting of Vegas and Charley Hoffman would determine the winner. After both players hit poor drives on the first playoff hole Charley Hoffman left the door open for Jhonny Vegas. Vegas took advantage of a clear shot while Hoffman had to lay up. Vegas would sink a birdie putt and become the first winner to win back to back titles since Jim Furyk. (Fun Fact: Furyk’s back to back wins were won on two different courses)

With the re-cap out of the way I just wanted to touch on a few other topics very briefly.

All of these crazy low scores. Are they good or bad for the game? What is the cause of these lower scores? Better player development… better technology… better equipment or does the ball need to be dialed back like Mr. Nicklaus has suggested? Are the superintendents doing too good of a job?

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The 18th at The Abbey.

To those not in the know Glen Abbey has been on life support for what seems an eternity. Before I get into that I want to say that it would be shame if the Jack Nicklaus course would fall victim to real estate. While this isn’t a Golf Canada issue it is a ClubLink Enterprises Limited owned golf course. The CEO K. Rai Sahi confirmed in 2015 that The Abbey was going to be developed into high-end housing. But how did the course get to here? Makes you wonder about the pricing (current peak Green Fee $236) and quite possibly a tee sheet that is more empty than full. That said… Glen Abbey WILL once again be the host of the RBC Canadian Open in 2018.

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#TheRink Oh what could be???? The Par 3 7th.

As far as Golf Canada this inquiry is for you. Glen Abbey sees the course get reconfigured from its everyday configuration to an altered configuration for the tournament (For example… Hole #1 is a Par 5 every day. For the Canadian Open it’s the Par 4 8th hole). This year #TheRink was a terrific idea. Potentially this hole could be as exciting as #16 at the Waste Management Open. We are a fanbase that consists of raucous hockey fans… wouldn’t it be fun to figure out a way to see #TheRink come into play late on Sunday? Somewhere in the last few holes? The drama and atmosphere would be spectacular! It would be a great way to get the fans (and their wallets) out there in full force. Think outside of the box. You can do it!

Until The Next Tee!!