LIV rebel Brooks Koepka bounced back from his professed Masters choke to win his fifth major title in a dramatic USPGA championship.
And he presented the Ryder Cup bosses with a massive dilemma with his two-shot win over Scottie Scheffler, with a brave Viktor Hovland in third place – cursing a fatal error when he got his ball out of the sand on the 16th thrown into the face of a bunker.
Zach Johnson and his advisors must now decide whether to hand Koepka one of the American captain’s six picks for Rome in September.
The PGA of America is responsible for the US Ryder Cup team, not the PGA Tour. So your ban on the LIV golfers does not apply to the 4th Ryder Cup.
And the top PGA of America team won’t approve of their champion golfer freaking out at home while Zach Johnson’s team hopes for their first win on European soil in thirty years.
Especially when he also finished second at the Masters, where he admitted to staying up all night and cursing himself for always being safe in the finals.
That allowed world No. 1 Jon Rahm to crush Koepka’s two-shot lead and snatch the green jacket from him.
While he’s at it, Zach Johnson should consider giving 46-year-old PGA Pro Michael Block – the unlikely cult hero of this gripping major championship – one of his six wildcards as well.
Block, who along with Rory McIlroy shot just six shots from the lead, caused the biggest cheer of the week with a stunning hole-in-one on the 151-yard 15th hole.
His ball didn’t even touch the sides as he entered the hole full force and an incredulous block turned to McIlroy and asked: ‘Did he go in? Straight in. Really!”
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Block was the only one of the 20 PGA pros who qualified for this event through their own national championship and made it to Oak Hill.
He captured the hearts and imaginations of golf fans around the world with his daring approach, earning him three straight 70s on a brutally hard course.
Block normally makes a living teaching £120 an hour at Arroyo Trabuco, the California public golf course where he has been a head pro for the past 19 years.
Sky Sports commentator Brad Faxon summed up his appeal by saying: “Just listen to the crowds, they just love him.” They all think he’s a working-class guy, just like us.
“He could run for President right away and win in a landslide.”
And that was BEFORE his ace!
This blockbuster nearly eclipsed a brilliant duel for the title between Koepka and Hovland.
After missing out at Augusta, Koepka vowed, “I’ll never make the same mistake again, I don’t mind being beaten – but not if I’m playing not to lose, but if I’m playing to win.” .”
There was no pussy footing this time as he turned his one shot lead into a three shot lead by scoring a hat trick with bogeys on the second hole.
At that point it looked like it would be a breeze for Koepka, who has overcome recurring knee problems – and made an £80m move to LIV – to regain the form that saw him win four majors in 2017-2019 brought faster result.
But playing partner Hovland, 25, was not intimidated. At four and five, he made two birdies of his own to reduce the deficit to two, and was just one short of the cruel shot on the 16th that cost him a double bogey.
The way his ball stayed clear of the edge of the bunker was an exact replica of the fate Corey Conners suffered when he was leading the tournament 24 hours earlier.
He did the same thing, from the same bunker!
But don’t take anything away from Koepka whose . He really is a Major-winning machine and in that mood he could cement his Ryder Cup place as he competes in the US Open and the Open over the next two months.
McIlroy’s own bid for a fifth Major never really got off the ground and in the end he seemed happy to hand the limelight to his new pal Block, who earned a hefty £230,000 for a share of 15th – his biggest payday by far in the countryside ..
McIlroy’s final 69 gave him a share of seventh place, while Justin Rose’s shot over par 71 tied him to ninth place.