BREAKING NEWS 1st case of Omicron variant detected in Minnesota Full Story

Brooks Koepka: Golf's hot property and the struggle to be famous

He's the hottest golfer on the planet, though you might struggle to recognize him.Brooks Koepka's sec...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 12:14 PM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 12:14 PM

He's the hottest golfer on the planet, though you might struggle to recognize him.

Brooks Koepka's second major title of the season at the US PGA was somewhat swamped by the Tiger Woods noise, but the 28-year-old's low-key approach is also keeping him under the radar.

Brooks Koepka

Continents and regions

Golf

North America

PGA Tour

Sports and recreation

Sports figures

Sports organizations and teams

The Americas

Tiger Woods

United States

Jordan Spieth

Diet, nutrition and fitness

Exercise and fitness

Health and medical

That could be about to change after Sunday's success. By holding off a charging Woods at Bellerive and to add to his successful defence of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills in June, the muscular Koepka has propelled himself into the epicenter of the spotlight.

The attention is something he doesn't necessarily crave, and yet sometimes he feels he deserves more.

During the week of the US PGA, Koepka was in a public gym with his buddy Dustin Johnson, twhere the world No.1 was receiving plenty of attention from other gym goers. Koepka could only laugh as he was largely ignored.

"I like to lay low, I like to hang back. I like to be the person that's not really recognized. Yet again, you can't hide when you do certain things," Koepka told CNN Sport.

READ: Koepka holds off charging Woods to win US PGA

READ: Tiger's tale outshines Koepka's US PGA win

'One of best years ever'

The "things" he has done this season have taken him to second in the world and eclipsed anything done by Johnson, or the resurgent Woods or Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy or any of golf's recent pin-ups.

And that, despite watching April's Masters from his couch, feeling low and "getting fat" while recovering from a wrist injury.

Koepka has now won three of the last six majors he's played in. That's Woods-esque domination. In St. Louis he became only the fifth player to win the US Open and US PGA in the same year, after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Woods.

"When you look at those names, growing up as a kid you couldn't even imagine adding your name to that list," Koepka said.

"To do that is incredible and to look back where I was four months ago is incredible. I don't think I could have dreamed of this."

Nicklaus, the 18-time major champion, was suitably impressed.

He tweeted: "For @BKoepka to not play @TheMasters because of injury, to be unsure of his near future in golf, then come back to win @usopengolf & @PGAChampionship—to return and win 2 of the 3 majors left in the year—you have to believe that is one of the best years any golfer has ever had!"

Koepka also joins Woods, Spieth, Tom Watson and Nicklaus as the only Americans to have won three majors by the age of 28 since World War II. And he joins Spieth and McIlroy as the only multiple major winners in a season for the past decade.

"I can think of plenty of people along the way telling me I'll be nothing, working at McDonald's," Koepka told reporters Tuesday at Bellerive.

"The whole time, you're just trying to prove them wrong. You're always trying to prove somebody wrong. Sometimes your haters, I guess, are your biggest motivators."

READ: Brooks Koepka lands back-to-back US Open titles

'Tough guy to beat'

While Spieth, Thomas or Rickie Fowler manage to engage with the public, Koepka finds it harder to open up.

"I've always been, I guess, pretty cool," said Koepka, who is dating actress and model Jena Sims. "I try to hide things. I don't like people, I don't let too many people into my life.

"I'm not the best with words. I'm not going to let everyone in, but when I do open up I trust you. I let you fully in. My close friends, my family and everyone around me can really appreciate it and sometimes it's not the easiest to open up to people.

"I'm a little bit hesitant to do that and I think that's what a lot of people see. I'm trying to work on it, I really am."

Arguably, Koepka didn't help his public relations cause by once describing golf as "boring" and saying he was not a "golf nerd" and would rather be playing pro baseball.

As a gym nut, he spent Sunday morning of both the US Open and US PGA working out and lifting weights.

At Shinnecock, before teeing off in the final round, his program involved bench pressing 225 pounds 14 times. "I can get to 315," he says.

But golfer he is, and he has been working with renowned English swing coach Pete Cowen, melding his huge-hitting power game, with a deft touch around the greens and a killer putting stroke.

"He's a tough guy to beat when he's hitting it 340 [yards] in the air," Woods told reporters after finishing two strokes behind at Bellerive. "He didn't just have the driving, he had the iron game, he had the putting and made some key up-and-downs."

READ: Box-office Tiger Woods targets Ryder Cup place

'I was a hot head'

Koepka admits he doesn't show much emotion, but says that's a deliberate move to counter his youthful temper.

"I'm sure most people think that is very un-entertaining, and very blah on the golf course," he said.

"It's just because I'm so focused. You're not going to see much emotion from me, but I've worked on that.

"Maybe 10 years ago when I got to college I was a hot head. I mean, I could snap a club in two seconds and not think anything of it."

The young Koepka took up golf after a car accident ended his dreams of making it in baseball, basketball and other more athletic sports.

After college at Florida State, he opted against following his contemporaries through the usual route to a professional career in the US and took up membership of Europe's second-tier Challenge Tour in 2012.

He traveled widely, from Kenya to Kazakhstan, learning his trade, gaining life experiences and growing up.

READ: Woods & Mickelson close to $10m duel

Four victories secured his European Tour card and a win in Turkey in 2014 propelled him back onto the US PGA Tour where he picked up a first title the following year.

Now, his achievements will likely secure him a spot in golf's Hall of Fame when he turns 50, but the quiet Koepka doesn't do it to be famous.

And yet he is often bemused by the lack of attention.

Visit cnn.com/sport for more news, features and videos

"I use it as motivation," he says.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 915942

Reported Deaths: 9606
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1786832038
Ramsey739711046
Dakota67683587
Anoka64112577
Washington40545359
Stearns33631279
St. Louis29591409
Scott25994186
Wright25957217
Olmsted22339130
Sherburne19000127
Carver1670669
Clay12104105
Blue Earth1147970
Rice11451138
Crow Wing11213123
Chisago995379
Kandiyohi9815108
Otter Tail9813127
Benton9033125
Beltrami816997
Goodhue811798
Douglas7875101
Itasca772299
Mower733449
McLeod713084
Winona710258
Isanti700783
Steele685731
Morrison672879
Becker628574
Polk603187
Freeborn561246
Carlton546974
Mille Lacs532479
Lyon528461
Nobles525054
Nicollet522460
Pine515043
Cass501253
Todd492843
Brown470759
Le Sueur459734
Meeker433458
Martin386544
Wabasha375510
Waseca374333
Dodge361112
Hubbard355249
Roseau316231
Fillmore305315
Wadena302940
Redwood281445
Houston272017
Renville268451
Faribault258233
Sibley252317
Pennington252130
Kanabec250136
Cottonwood230132
Aitkin222450
Chippewa220542
Pope207410
Watonwan198020
Yellow Medicine188023
Rock177729
Koochiching176725
Swift173123
Stevens167511
Jackson161016
Clearwater158020
Marshall153522
Murray151811
Pipestone149729
Lake132924
Lac qui Parle123025
Wilkin121116
Mahnomen106014
Norman10509
Grant101510
Big Stone9485
Lincoln8805
Kittson73223
Red Lake71410
Traverse6056
Unassigned545124
Lake of the Woods5265
Cook3071

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 525758

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk81677809
Linn32838430
Scott27126295
Black Hawk22334382
Woodbury20736263
Johnson20150108
Dubuque18996243
Pottawattamie16215214
Dallas15573115
Story1398059
Warren8637107
Cerro Gordo8141125
Clinton7928115
Webster7419124
Des Moines7153106
Marshall675494
Muscatine6717117
Wapello6546145
Jasper630591
Sioux622477
Lee5977106
Marion567697
Buena Vista503449
Plymouth493388
Henry427155
Benton414760
Jones413564
Bremer403873
Boone397042
Washington395464
Carroll373355
Mahaska372366
Crawford355647
Jackson324047
Dickinson317555
Buchanan312743
Delaware303255
Clay297636
Kossuth293477
Fayette290356
Hardin289253
Tama282878
Page276133
Wright270050
Cedar269527
Winneshiek267744
Hamilton262757
Floyd261049
Clayton252360
Poweshiek242043
Harrison240979
Madison237425
Butler237346
Cass235667
Iowa234336
Jefferson228544
Mills225330
Hancock222840
Winnebago222339
Cherokee217347
Appanoose210157
Lyon209842
Allamakee209456
Calhoun199519
Shelby199542
Union197141
Humboldt188231
Franklin188031
Grundy186137
Chickasaw184522
Mitchell184343
Emmet180146
Louisa178653
Sac175626
Guthrie169338
Clarke163629
Montgomery163146
Keokuk152639
Palo Alto152332
Howard150624
Monroe144340
Ida134141
Greene128818
Davis126825
Lucas126127
Monona124940
Worth12309
Pocahontas122125
Adair118239
Osceola105718
Decatur104813
Taylor100914
Fremont98913
Van Buren95922
Wayne86125
Ringgold78429
Audubon77617
Adams5869
Unassigned500
Rochester
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Mason City
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 37°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 38°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 40°
Tracking chances for rain and snow
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events