Majors the easiest to win: Koepka

FARMINGDALE • Brooks Koepka, who has won three Majors in the past two years, feels golf's blue riband events may just be the "easiest to win".

That is why the PGA Championship holder has already written off half of his competitors at the Bethpage Black Course this week.

"There's 156 in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I'm just going to beat," the world No. 3 told a news conference.

"From there, the others - you figure about half of them won't play well from there, so you're down to about maybe 35.

"And then from 35... pressure is going to get to (some of) them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you've just got to beat those guys."

The 2017 and 2018 US Open champion is oozing confidence this week, having triumphed in three of his last seven Majors, including a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods at last month's Masters,

But he has won just twice on the PGA Tour outside of the Majors and conceded at regular events he would often get ahead of himself and press too hard, whereas in Majors he can focus on staying in the moment.

"I think one of the big things that I've learnt over the last few years is you don't have to try to go win it," said the 29-year-old American.

"Just hang around and good things are going to happen."

So confident is Koepka, who will aim to become the first repeat winner of the PGA Championship since Woods in 2007, that he does not see any reason why his tally of Major titles "can't get into double digits".

"You keep doing what you're supposed to do, you play good, you peak at the right times.

"Like I said, I think sometimes the Majors are the easiest ones to win," he added.

"Half the people shoot themselves out of it, and mentally I know I can beat most of them."

Meanwhile, long-hitting Dustin Johnson is mentally fresh after a break and eager to get going at a big and wet course which will put a premium on driving distance.

The PGA Championship, which has been moved up from its traditional August date, used to cap a busy four-week stretch of tournaments for the world No. 1 but the schedule change has given him an extended break.

He likes the Bethpage Black layout, which "sets up well for me".

"For me, it's all about driving. The fairways are generous in some spots. Some holes are narrow. But you've got to hit the fairways here," said the 34-year-old.

"The rough is pretty penal. It's not super deep, but it's just really thick, and you've just got to drive it straight."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'Majors the easiest to win: Koepka'. Print Edition | Subscribe