Brooks Koepka is aiming to chase down Rory McIlroy for the No. 1 world golf ranking.
Koepka reached No. 1 in the world in October 2018 and held that spot for 47 weeks before losing it. McIlroy is the current No. 1, with Jon Rahm behind him, followed by Koepka. Koepka has his eyes on the spot.
“Yeah, I’ve got eyes on Rory [McIlroy]”, Koepka said Wednesday via Sky Sports. “That’s the goal, to get back to No. 1 in the world. That’s the whole point of playing is to be the best.
“If I do what I’m supposed to do, if I take care of my business, then I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t get back to that.”
Koepka hurt his knee late last year, which caused him to miss three months. The break in the golf season due to the coronavirus was “beneficial” to his health, he says, and allowed him to recover.
The 30-year-old from West Palm Beach, Fla. has burst onto the scene the last three years and dominated. He won the US Open in 2017 and 2018 and the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019. Last year, he finished no lower than tied for fourth in any of the majors.
Both Koepka and McIlroy shot a -2 in the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, tying them for 39th.
Rory McIlroy is staying indoors and at home like so many of us during the coronavirus pandemic. But things haven’t been easy for the world No. 1 golfer.
Though McIlroy is able to stay in shape thanks to a home gym, what he really misses is the competition. He said in an interview with Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp on Instagram that he misses that even more than the golf.
“I love golf and it has given me a lot of really great things but I think I love the competition more. If there’s no competition, then there’s nothing to look forward to.
“Right now, I am just enjoying spending some time at home, getting after it in the gym, and spending time by the pool or playing tennis,” McIlroy said, via The Sun.
McIlroy was competing in the Players Championship before PGA Tour events were canceled through May 21. Both the Masters and PGA Championship have been postponed.
McIlroy says he wants to know that he’s working towards something specific when he begins preparing, so maybe his juices won’t get going until he learns about the next event on his calendar.
Brooks Koepka offered a great quote for why he does not view himself as having a rivalry with Rory McIlroy despite the two being the top-ranked golfers in the world.
Koepka shared his answer with the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, and it was a good one.
“I’ve been out here for what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour,” Koepka told the AFP. “So I don’t view it as a rivalry.”
You really can’t argue with that. Yes, they both may have won three times on tour this year, and they each have four majors, but McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014. He’s had eight top-10 finishes, but no major wins since then. He also has failed to make the cut four times.
In that same span, Koepka has won all four of his majors, missed no cuts, and finished in the top four of all four majors this year. Koepka has come on strong and has been the top golfer recently when it comes to the biggest events.
However, the two split head-to-head, with Koepka winning the World Golf Championship in Memphis and McIlroy winning the Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup. McIlroy still had an excellent year.
None of that changes Koepka’s mentality.
“I’m No. 1 in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me. I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry,” Koepka said.
You have to love his attitude and confidence. That’s a big part of what makes him great.
Sports betting is expected to be legalized across more US states in the coming years, and that presents a multitude of issues that professional sports organizations will have to keep an eye on. Rory McIlroy is anticipating at least one significant one for the PGA Tour.
During a recent episode of The Golf Channel’s “Rory & Carson Podcast,” McIlroy spoke about the issue Ian Poulter had at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis last month when a fan Poulter described as an “idiot” openly rooted for his approach shot on the 18th hole to find its way into a bunker. McIlroy said that is an unfortunate part of the sport, and he thinks it could become more prevalent with the legalization of sports gambling.
“I think that’s going to be one of the big things about golf and legalizing sports betting in this country. What is going to happen is you will see more of this (heckling) stuff occurring because there are going to be those who have bet against you, and the guy you are playing with,” McIlroy said, as transcribed by Tony Leen of the Irish Examiner. “Whether it’s the fantasy (golf game) or just sports betting, they’re going to want to try and alter the result because they will potentially either make or lose money from it.”
McIlroy may have a point, but that has been going on at sporting events for a very, very long time. Sports betting has been legal in Nevada for many years, and there is no shortage of bookies, online gambling sites, or other avenues for fans to place bets. Could it make the problem worse? Sure, but that’s not a new concept.
Golf has become increasingly popular among younger fans (think college age) in recent years, and that has led to more unruly behavior during tournaments. Poulter also gets heckled more than the average golfer because he has always been very outspoken and loves playing the role of heel at the Ryder Cup. While McIlroy’s prediction about sports gambling may prove to be accurate, there are plenty of other factors that lead to fans behaving inappropriately. Poulter’s flamboyant personality is one of them, and he brought a lot of that on himself.
Rory McIlroy blew the field away to win the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, and he knew just how to celebrate with fans following his big day.
After he fired a 9-under 61 to finish an impressive 22-under for the tournament, McIlroy walked off the course holding up a Kyle Lowry jersey. There were undoubtedly some Toronto Raptors fans in attendance, and they loved the move.
The RBC Canadian Open is held at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, which is about one hour south of the city of Toronto. McIlroy has clearly been following the NBA Finals and knows the Raptors are one win away from capturing their first ever title, so it was pretty cool to see him plan ahead.
Rory McIlroy is getting caught up in the Toronto Raptors hype while finishing things off at the Canadian Open.
McIlroy posted a dominant final round 61, good for a score of nine-under and a seven-stroke victory on Sunday. As he walked off the 18th green, he produced a Toronto Raptors jersey in front of the crowd.
Rory McIlroy walking off the18th hole after winning the Canadian Open, has a Kyle Lowry jersey slung over his shoulder. #NBAFinals
McIlroy is definitely a basketball fan, though he has no obvious ties to the Raptors. If you’re in town and took in a recent game, though, you might as well show some love to the home team, especially with Canada in the midst of basketball fever.
Rory McIlroy has impressively won four majors during his young career, but none have come since 2014. That does not seem to have him worried.
Speaking before the Irish Open, McIlroy said that he’s not too concerned about not winning another major.
Rory McIlroy not concerned if he does not win another major.
“It’s still my career, and I still want to make the most of it and I still feel like I have a lot of time to make my mark on golf, but at the same time it doesn’t keep me up at night thinking, if I never won another major, I can’t live with myself,” McIlroy said, via Golf.com. “There are other things in my life that are more important than golf.”
The 29-year-old is now married and seems to have a more balanced life perspective. And though he’s missed three straight cuts at the US Open — including last month at Shinnecock Hills — McIlroy has seven top-10 finishes at majors since 2015.
Currently No. 8 in the world golf rankings, McIlroy hasn’t exactly fallen off even if he hasn’t captured a major in a few years. He still has time to get another — including maybe the elusive Masters.