EXCLUSIVE: Reasons stacking up for ‘hot’ Brooks Koepka to defend USPGA crown

EXCLUSIVE: Reasons stacking up for ‘hot’ Brooks Koepka to defend USPGA crown

Defending champion Brooks Koepka is running “hot” and ready to follow his record fourth LIV title with victory at the US PGA this week. The American has been dubbed a “contract killer” who is on a mission to win his sixth Major in Kentucky by former US Open winner Andy North.

No man has won more major titles than the former world No.1 since his first US Open triumph in 2017. And his short-game guru Pete Cowen said streaky Koepka, who made 17 birdies in 54 holes to win in Singapore earlier this month, is back in the form to retain his title at Valhalla.

“He is one of the best players in the world,” said the Yorkshireman. “He is definitely in the mix – there is no doubt about that. And when he has just won, he has always got the bit between his teeth and his confidence is up.

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“When he is hot, he tends to run hot. I think he has shown in the past that when he is on his game, he can compete with anyone. He has won five Majors since 2017 and no-one else has done that. He probably hasn’t played as much competitive golf as he would have liked although he has played six LIV events and the Masters which is basically enough.

“He got a decent result in Adelaide and then obviously he won in the heat in Singapore. He is looking good.” World No.1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler has won four times in the last two months but did not play in the Wells Fargo Championship with his wife Meredith heavily pregnant.

Koepka, who takes his love of brown sauce and Manchester United from his Ulster caddie Ricky Elliot, finished tied 45th at the Masters but won his first event as a father in Singapore. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of is having Jenna and Crew there when I win,” he said. “My game feels good. It’s all starting to come around. I’ve put in a lot of work.”

The world No.37 rises to the big occasion and has won more Majors than regular PGA Tour titles (four) or LIV Golf events during a career dogged by two knee surgeries and crisis of confidence. “Normally when there’s a clutch putt, I feel like I do make it,” said Koepka, 34. “I think the big thing that kind of separates me is my ability to lock in and go someplace where I think a lot of guys can’t go.”

He is already only the third player to win the US PGA three times in a six-year span with Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen. Now he has the chance to go and win his sixth Major and draw level with legends Lee Trevino, Sir Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson

ESPN analyst North said: “He’s a contract killer, simply. He shows up at a major championship, opens his locker, and there’s like the “Mission Impossible” thing: ‘Here’s your assignment, go kill somebody this week’. That’s how he approaches golf at Major

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