Koepka out to avenge Masters near-miss and strengthen legacy

During the final round of last year's tournament Koepka watched his two-shot lead evaporate after six holes and went on to finish runner-up

By Reuters

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Brooks Koepka of the United States seen on the eighth green during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club. — AFP
Brooks Koepka of the United States seen on the eighth green during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club. — AFP

Published: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 5:57 PM

Brooks Koepka has a well-earned reputation as a big-game hunter in golf's elite competitions and he arrives at Augusta National this week seeking revenge a year after squandering a chance to slip into the Green Jacket worn by Masters champions.

During the final round of last year's tournament Koepka watched his two-shot lead evaporate after six holes and went on to finish runner-up, four strokes behind Jon Rahm.


A month later, an undeterred Koepka delivered a two-shot victory at the PGA Championship for his fifth major and in the process became the first active member of LIV Golf to win one of the sport's blue-riband events.

"If you can't get up for the biggest events, I don't know, I think there's something wrong with you," Koepka told reporters during his pre-Masters press conference at Augusta National Golf Club on Tuesday.


"It's what I always dreamed of when I was a kid. When I was practising at my dad's course when I was younger it was always to win a major championship.

"Even today, that's what I first see, that's what I think you're judged by, your legacy, what you're defined by."

Winning a fifth major, something only 20 players have done in the game's history, cemented Koepka's legacy as one of golf's greats but the 33-year-old American is far from satisfied.

Koepka was quick to showcase that he knows exactly where he is on the list of all-time major winners -- "there's 19 other people in front of me, I do know that" -- and wants more.

"I've always said it, I think you can tell exactly how many Jack (Nicklaus), Tiger (Woods), Arnold (Palmer), Tom (Watson), you can tell, all these guys, how many majors they won," he said.

"It's tough to tell how many (regular) events they won, but I know that there's one sure-fire way to figure out who is who is by major championships."

Koepka now has top 12 finishes in four of his past six Masters starts and said his competitive juices kicked in the moment he drove down Magnolia Lane, the tree-lined drive members and players use to enter the Augusta National grounds.

With members on site sporting green jackets, Koepka was not shy about what he thinks each time he sees one of the coveted garments that are one of the most prized possessions in golf.

"I want one," said Koepka. "That's kind of what goes through my mind."

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