Brooks Koepka and the U.S. Open Course for 2017 were an unlikely, but perfect fit.
You see, for the first appearance of a U.S. Open in the state of Wisconsin, the PGA abandoned the meticulously-manicured Country Club venue in favor of the Public Course at Erin Hills. This layout is replete with rough terrain that would be hard to navigate with a machete, let alone golf clubs and winds that could rival the toughest European courses. Add a mysterious creature of mythical proportions that various locals have encountered over the years (Goatman, reputed to have the head of a man, while the rest of the body resembles it’s namesake) and a course owner with a criminal past and you get an idea of what the players were facing before they even stepped on the course.
If you believe in omens, however, you could almost pick the winner. Koepka, an American who went to Florida State, was forced to start his career on various European minor tours and only earned his PGA Tour Card at, ironically, the U.S. Open three years ago. The Floridian was also chosen for the 2016 Ryder Cup team that won back the cherished chalice.
That background prepared Koepka for the conditions he would face all weekend. As some favorites either faded or missed cuts entirely (Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jimmy Walker), Koepka drained four birdies in succession Sunday on the back nine. Braving 30-mile per hour winds, the new U.S. Open Champion shot a 16-under par 272 to earn his first Major and the richest payday, over $2.16 Million dollars.