PGA Championship: McIlroy and Woods among the players paying tribute to Koepka
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 19/05/19 12:43am
Brooks Koepka still has 18 holes to negotiate before being crowned PGA champion, but many of his fellow competitors at Bethpage Black appear to have accepted they are playing for second place.
With Koepka retaining his seven-shot overnight lead despite managing "only" a level-par 70 in the third round, he is widely expected to wrap up his fourth major victory in less than two years on Sunday afternoon.
Rory McIlroy led the tributes to the record-setting leader, while the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler also expressed their admiration for how Koepka has tamed a fearsome layout and been in a class of his own this week.
Here's what the players are saying about Koepka this week:
"It's awesome, it's so good and it's great to watch. Brooks is definitely, in these events, playing on a different level than anyone else."
"I just have a lot of respect for him and his game and how hard he works and the process he went through after he left amateur golf as a pro to make it out here. He's playing some remarkable golf, and it's not easy. It's really not an easy test."
"I don't look at it as an intimidation factor. We've always looked at Brooks as one of the best players out here and I feel like it's more of a level of respect. It's not necessarily, you know, scared of him or anything. It's not like I'm trying to catch a pass up the middle and he's coming across to hit me. Although, in full contact golf, that may be interesting."
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Harold Varner III
"The first thing that comes to mind is I think it's great for golf. If you don't go to sleep and think, 'man, this makes me want to work harder, if I can be that good', then I don't know why you're playing. It's going to make the other guys push themselves. Some guys won't, but it's pretty much what Tiger did for golf in general. It's the reason why people work out. It's the reason why people are so good. It's the reason why Brooks is doing what he's doing right now."
"I've been talking to my friends about it, and my coach and my caddie, and this is not a golf course where - in the practice rounds - I would have told you anybody would be breaking any kind of record. Outside of Brooks, the scores have been US Open-ish. So it tells you how extremely impressive he's played."
Tiger Woods (Friday)
"Brooksy is driving it 330 yards in the middle of the fairway, he's got nine-irons in when most of us are hitting four or five-irons, and he's putting well. That adds up to a pretty substantial lead. To get to where he's at, to go to the Challenge Tour, the European Tour, he paid his dues. He found a game and a dedication that he needed to play well and he's doing that. He's got many more years ahead of him where he can do this."