Getty Images

When it comes to men's golf and major championships, it's Jack, Tiger and everyone else. It's been that way since Tiger Woods, then 32 with a bum leg, pulled within four majors of Jack Nicklaus; that was 15 years ago at the 2008 U.S. Open when Woods clinched his 14th career crown at Torrey Pines. Fast forward to present day, and Tiger has added only one more to his tally while a new name, Brooks Koepka, has emerged in the arms race for major domination.

Koepka will go for No. 6 this week as he tackles Los Angeles Country Club at the 2023 U.S. Open. Should he raise his third U.S. Open trophy right off Wilshire Boulevard in the shadows of the Hollywood Hills, Koepka will become only the third man to win three U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships. The other two? Jack and Tiger.

Sure, there are names -- 12 to be exact -- between Koepka's and the two big ones atop the sport, but the reigning PGA Championship winner is the only one with the most valuable asset (time) in stow. 

"Double digits, that's what I'm trying to get to," said Koepka. "I don't think it's out of the question for me. The way I've prepared, the way I've kind of suited my game for these things is going to help me. And like I said, I'm only 33, so I've definitely got quite a bit of time. I've just got to stay healthy and keep doing what I'm doing."

Smack dab in the middle of his prime, not only has Koepka's confidence, form and health all returned -- following a grueling two-year stretch that saw him endure left knee, right knee and a litany of injuries that belongs in a verse of "The Cha Cha Slide" -- but so has that smirk. It's a look he imposes on media and players alike indicating that Koepka is going to stuff you in a locker on his way to class (class, in this case, referring to the back nine of a major championship on Sunday).

A firm believer those down years were an anomaly and due to an injury he honestly thought would force him to limp away from the game -- even if he did contend at three majors in 2021 -- Koepka has backed up his words and left little to no room for doubt. 

Finishing runner-up at the Masters to begin the 2023 major campaign, Koepka relinquished a four-stroke lead across the final day to eventual champion Jon Rahm. He vowed it would never happen again, and just one month later, he followed through by claiming his third Wanamaker Trophy. When Viktor Hovland -- dressed like and assuming the role of rising star -- slammed his approach into the face of a fairway bunker on the 69th hole, Koepka's patience, perseverance and honesty were rewarded.

"I'm really good at learning from mistakes or what goes on, and I'll sit back and reflect for like two, three days, whether it be right after, give it a few days and be really truthful, honest with myself of why things happened the way they did," said Koepka. 

"What was my thinking? What was my thought process? Did I execute how I wanted to? Was it just kind of unlucky? All that goes into it, but if you're truly honest with yourself, I think you'll figure out why."

Koepka has always been brutally honest about his intentions in the professional ranks; he wants to rack up major championships like their tickets at an amusement park. The more the better as prizes get bigger and reputations get built. 

"At the end of the day, one thing that was always kind of harped on me was you knew how many majors Jack has, you knew how many Tiger has, you knew how many Arnold Palmer has, you knew how many Gary Player, Watson, all these legends. But I never knew how many PGA Tour events or wins they had total," Koepka said. 

"I could tell you going down the list each of them had won, so that was kind of -- it's pretty obvious, right? That's what you're judged on. It's major championships. You look at basketball, you're judged on how many championships you've won, not how many games you've won. Same thing in every sport."

This honesty has seeped into his game. Koepka knows he can't attack every pin. He understands that scoring bonanzas often seen on the PGA Tour were never his bread and butter. Let's remember this is the man who has more major championships (five) than he does other PGA Tour victories (four). 

Hit fairways, hit the fat part of the green, pick off the occasional birdie and limit the mistakes. It's been the playbook Koepka has put on display for more than half a decade.

But while this train of thought and playing acumen may not be rewarded 48 weeks of the year, it most certainly is during the four important ones -- the ones for which golfers are remembered. This is even more true at the U.S. Open, a championship often described as the hardest test in golf, one that has been an easy "A" for Koepka throughout his career.

This championship marked the first time Koepka tasted contention. As an amateur at the Olympic Club, he led on the front nine in the first round only to then see his name on the leaderboard and backtrack. Two years later as a professional, he finished T4 at Pinehurst No. 2, and even though Martin Kaymer was busy running away with the tournament, the experience was nevertheless valuable. 

Koepka's play in 2014 kicked off a stretch of seven straight top 20 finishes in as many U.S. Opens. Included in that streak was consecutive trophies in 2017-18, a runner-up finish in 2019 and a T4 result at Torrey Pines for good measure.

On Tuesday, he reminded that he thrives in chaos, channeling his inner Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises." No, not chaos of the outside world. That couldn't be further from Koepka's mind -- he's not one to major in minor affairs nor minor in major championships. He was referring to chaos on the golf course where things inherently slow down for him.

Koepka's intentions remain honest and simple while havoc multiplies. While others are moaning about course conditions and the USGA, Koepka is figuring out ways to leave himself an uphill putt.

U.S. Opens shouldn't be this simple, but they are for Koepka: fairway, green, two-putt -- rinse, wash, repeat. He has a one-track mind at these events, and it's all an honest assessment of his game, the shot at hand and ultimately himself as an individual.