Brooks Koepka's evolution is starting to show with better performances at regular events
The No. 2 player in the world has improved outside of majors championships
Brooks Koepka contended for the 2019 Honda Classic on Sunday. In fact, if not for a wild 16-foot Keith Mitchell putt at the very end, Koepka would have been in a playoff with Mitchell and Rickie Fowler, looking for the sixth PGA Tour win of his young career.
It's not been a traditional path to the first five wins though. Koepka has more majors (3) than other PGA Tour wins (2) and has admitted in the past that it's easier for him to focus at major championships than it is at non-major championships.
It's something he's clearly working on though. As you can see from the chart below, while his average finish at majors has more or less stayed the same for the last four years, his average finish at non-majors -- other than a slight blip in 2017 -- has consistently improved.
Brooks Koepka Average Finish
It's hard to overstate how backwards this seems. There are probably few players on the PGA Tour who have numbers similar to Koepka's at majors and at non-majors. But in three non-majors so far in 2019, Koepka has finished T2, T27 and 24th. He also won and finished T16 in two events in the fall (which count toward the PGA Tour season). So there is a consistency there that maybe we haven't seen in the past.
"I know I don't need my 'A' game to be in contention," said Koepka after firing an 8-under 272 at PGA National, one out of the playoff. "I feel like as long as I do one thing really well, whether it's iron play, putting like this week, I'm going to be in contention. I'm going to give myself a chance at a win come Sunday with nine holes to go, and that's all you want to do."
And while a lot of people (myself included) think it's funny that he has more majors than non-majors and hope he ends his career this way, it's also good when a young, outspoken superstar is contending week in and week out on the traveling circus that is the PGA Tour, even if it's mentally difficult for him to do so.
"I definitely have a different mindset," Koepka said earlier in the week about the difference between majors and non-majors. "I'm able to get over things a lot quicker in majors. I think sometimes I expect too much out of myself in a regular Tour event. I know I should win it and I don't give myself the opportunity to do it. A little lack of focus, trying too hard. But at the end of the day, that's my primary focus is on majors, as is everyone else out here. You're remembered by how many majors you've won, not by how many tournaments you've won."
He's right about that, but thankfully it doesn't seem to be an ethos that he's living by. Whether on purpose or not, Brooks Koepka is getting better and contending more consistently at non-major PGA Tour events. That's a fine thing, but it's a great thing for golf.
SportsLine simulated the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play 10,000 times and came up with...
He did it by holding off the No. 1 player in the world, among others
No Tiger Woods this week, but we still get several of the best players in the world
Casey will have to hold off Dustin Johnson and a host of challenger on Sunday in Palm Harbor,...
Casey is tied at the top of the leaderboard with Austin Cook
D.J. didn't hit he ball particularly well, but he still scored well