The 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Seaside tees off Thursday with the conventional provide of tantalizing storylines behind the 156 gamers who might show greatest by Sunday night.
However in a 12 months that’s already seen Tiger Woods return to main championship glory, Phil Mickelson declare his fifth winter-time victory on this well-known seaside course, Jordan Spieth regain his kind and simply days faraway from Rory McIlroy demolishing a deep subject in Canada, there may be one man whose latest accomplishments place these giants of the sport apart for his personal brilliance.
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Brooks Koepka arrives this week because the two-time defending U.S. Open champion and making an attempt to turn into simply the second man – and first in additional than a century – to win three-in-a-row. However not simply that. Within the span of the final 24 months, he has additionally received and defended the PGA Championship. An unprecedented accomplishment. He’s additionally the World No. 1.
“It has been extremely fast, I do know that. It has been a lot enjoyable these final, what’s it, two years,” Koepka, 29, stated following his most up-to-date victory. “It is fairly shut to 2 years. It is unimaginable. I do not assume I even thought I used to be going to do it that quick. I do not assume anyone did, and to be standing right here at this time with 4 majors, it is mind-blowing.”
One man aware of Koepka’s U.S. Open success is FOX Sports activities golf analyst Curtis Unusual who had been the final participant to win consecutive nationwide championships in 1988 and 1989. He calls Koepka “the final word modern-day participant [with] unimaginable power. A powerful thoughts. And really disciplined.”
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Trying again nearly three a long time, Unusual says his try at a 3rd U.S. Open fell brief partially due to anxiousness and nerves — one thing he doesn’t assume will afflict Koepka this week.
“He is extraordinarily assured and a few folks may say somewhat bit an excessive amount of — outwardly — however that is okay as a result of any nice athlete needs to be extraordinarily assured,” Unusual stated.
That is the sixth time Pebble Seaside hosts the U.S. Open and due to that historical past and its annual PGA Tour occasion in February – to not point out the breathtaking ocean views which are acquainted to thousands and thousands of tv viewers – it’s maybe probably the most well-known of the programs to carry the championship.
“That is the cathedral of American golf — it is a mystical place,” says John Bodenhamer, who’s answerable for the U.S. Golf Affiliation’s set-up of the course. “There’s a lot historical past that is unfolding we’re so proud that a lot of it has been our historical past.”
Half of the holes play alongside the Pacific Ocean and Bodenhamer’s aim is to organize the course in a manner that makes it tough however honest.
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“The power to get the golf course agency and quick so that you just actually must put shot making as a precedence,” Bodenhamer instructed Fox Information.
Then add within the variability of winds that run from a refreshing summer season breeze off Stillwater Cove to gusts that might take advantage of hardened seaman take cowl.
“The premium on driving your ball within the fairway and these little tiny placing greens right here at Pebble,” Bodenhamer says with a devilish smile. “The bodily resolve that may be a U.S. Open — the psychological resiliency to actually battle not simply the golf course however the parts the climate right here.”
Unusual figures there are solely 15-20 gamers who he thinks actually have an opportunity to win this week. And sure, Pebble Seaside is particular to him too.
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“You already know, it is simply in all probability probably the most stunning golf course on this planet to me,” Unusual says. “It is an excellent golf course with an excellent historical past.”