What’s in the Bag: Brooks Koepka Outduels Tiger Woods to Win 2018 PGA Championship


Brooks Koepka isn’t going to wilt under pressure.

Not when Tiger Woods returns from the golfing dead and shoots a blistering 64 in the final round of a major. Not when Masters champion Adam Scott, playing alongside Koepka in the final pairing, makes a birdie run to co-lead the tournament. Not when pent-up Tiger roars from a major-less decade are blasting across Bellerive Country Club. And not when seemingly everybody except Koepka’s caddie, mom and girlfriend willed a different outcome.

None of it seemed to matter to Koepka, the placid 28-year-old Floridian who shot a final-round 66 to win the PGA Championship by two strokes over Woods, the 14-time major winner and the overwhelming fan and media favorite.

Koepka finished at 16-under 264 (69, 63, 66, 66), setting a new scoring record in the PGA Championship. He is now in select company, one of only five players to win both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same season. In addition, Koepka has won three majors in the last 14 months, including back-to-back U.S. Opens.

What did the man himself think about these developments?

“Surreal,” Koepka said. “That’s all I can say.”

What did Tiger, who threw everything he had at Koepka and Bellerive Country Club, think?

“He’s a tough guy to beat when he’s hitting it 340 in the air,” Woods said, admiringly. “That’s the new game.”

Yes, the Popeye-like Koepka, who visited a St. Louis gym for a workout before teeing off in the final round, manhandles golf courses with massive drives and laser-like approach shots, such as the 4-iron on the 248-yard par-3 16th hole that set up a crucial birdie from six feet.

“One of the longest hitters on the PGA TOUR, Koepka leaned on his TaylorMade M3 driver all week,” reported PGATOUR.COM, “ranking second in the field in driving distance (324.2 yards) and Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee (plus-5.879).”

The Wanamaker Trophy is a whale of a trophy, weighing 27 pounds. Once again at a major Brooks Koepka was the strongest man in the field. So it made perfect sense for him to lift that large silver trophy on Sunday evening, with no strain whatsoever, a broad smile on his face.

Brooks Koepka’s Clubs

(As reported by PGATOUR)

In the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, Brooks Koepka employed the same equipment that he used to win his second consecutive U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in June.

Koepka’s mixed set includes clubs made by TaylorMade, Nike, Mizuno and Titleist. Here’s a look at his winning setup at the 100th PGA Championship.

Driver: TaylorMade M3 (9.5 degrees) with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70TX shaft

3-Wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL (16.5 degrees) with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80TX shaft

Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3-iron) with Fujikura Pro 95 Tour Spec X shaft; Mizuno JPX-900 Tour (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-10S, 60-08M degrees) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron T10 Select Newport 2

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Neil Sagebiel

Neil Sagebiel is a golf writer and author of two golf books published by St. Martin's Press, THE LONGEST SHOT and DRAW IN THE DUNES. He lives in Floyd, Virginia.

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