The second men's major of the year at Oak Hill is in the books and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The New York crowd came out in their thousands to roar on a new hero and witness the crowning of a familiar winner of the event. Read all of this and more in our ‘Five Things We Learned’ from the US PGA Championship.

Koepka is King

For the third time in his career, Brooks Koepka is the US PGA champion and with that feat he joins the illustrious company of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. He also becomes only the 20th player in the history of the game to notch up five or more major victories.
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Much has been made about Koepka’s controversial switch to the rival LIV Golf tour last year but the 33-year-old silenced any naysayers with what was a truly dominant performance around an incredibly tricky Oak Hill layout.
A sluggish opening round was followed by back-to-back 66s, an even more impressive feat considering the torrid conditions that faced the players on Saturday. A solid final day, where he battled with Viktor Hovland, saw him never lose his overnight lead as he strolled home to lift the famous Wanamker Trophy once again.
It has been a tough couple of years for the father-to-be, with well documented knee troubles that required surgery and a battle with self doubt, but Koepka let all that weight fall off his shoulders as he was presented with his new hardware.
“This is incredible, this is wild,” he said.
“I look back at where we were two years ago, everything that’s gone on. I’m just so happy right now, I’m kind of at a loss for words, but this is just the coolest thing.
“I’ll be honest I’m not even sure I dreamed as a kid that I was going to win this many. This is the coolest thing and I’m just happy to do it in front of these New York fans, I love you guys.”

Brooks Koepka celebrates his third US PGA Championship victory

Image credit: Getty Images

New kid on the Block

On Thursday you’d be forgiven if you didn’t have a clue who PGA of America professional Michael Block was, but by the conclusion of the action on Sunday he was the name on everyone’s lips.
The teaching pro out of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California was one of 20 club pros teeing it up and was the only one to make the cut, which really kick-started this fairytale story. His honesty, enthusiasm and energy was infectious and it electrified the crowd.
Such were Block’s achievements up until this point, he got paired with major winner Justin Rose on Saturday where he recorded his third consecutive round of 70 to juice up the fans even more and add further momentum to his story.
His final round then left us with one of the sport’s all-time moments. Not only did he tee off with World No.3 Rory McIlroy as his playing partner, something that he found out memorably mid-interview the night before, he held his own - and then came the 15th hole.
With the slap of a 7-iron, he flew it directly into the hole for a slam dunk hole-in-one - cue pandemonium. Unsure what had just happened as McIlroy walked back to embrace him, Block asked: “Rory, did it go in?” The “Block Party”, as it was now known on-site, was truly underway.
As if that career highlight wasn’t enough, after soaking in the cheers, chanting and ovations coming down the 18th, the American managed to get up and down from a tough spot for par to lock up a T15 finish, good enough to earn him an invite to next year’s championship at Valhalla.
There was also the small matter of a chunky pay cheque of US$288,333. Cinderella had her golf shoes on this week.
Asked why he had proved so popular at Oak Hill, Block said: “I’m like the new John Daly, but I don’t have a mullet, and I’m not quite as big as him yet.
“I’m just a club professional, right? I work. I have fun. I have a couple boys that I love to play golf with. I have a great wife. I have great friends. I live the normal life.
“I love being at home. I love sitting in my backyard. My best friend in the world is my dog. I can’t wait to see him.”
He’ll have to wait a little longer to see his dog however, as Block has now received an invite into this week's Charles Schwab Challenge on the PGA Tour as well as the RBC Canadian Open next month. Both of which you can see and live and exclusive on Eurosport and discovery+ (in selected markets).
Golf well and truly has a new kid on the block, at the young age of 46.

Tom Kim gets swamped

Rising star Tom Kim endeared himself to many new fans during the opening round, and it was due to his trademark entertaining antics rather than his golfing talents.
The young South Korean had just blocked his tee shot at the par-4 sixth, sending it right of the fairway and into the adjacent marsh. It seemed likely his ball had found a watery grave, but when he approached the landing area he was given some hope as spotters told him that his ball had missed the water but had landed in the mud in the centre of the marsh.
Weighing up his options, and eventually not following his caddie’s advice, the 20-year-old set foot to take a crack at it.
Kim reflected post-round saying: “As soon as I went in — it was kinda sketch”.
“Sketch” it certainly was.
His legs were literally swamped and sinking. Cameras had missed the start of the drama but replays soon filled the world in. One second he was in frame and the next he wasn’t as he tumbled out of shot and into the mud, only to reappear now caked from the waist down.
The World No.21 wrestled himself out only to disappear again in the nearby stream, as we now watched him bathe live on television. That helped take some of the mud off. It didn’t help with the cold, though, so he ditched his shirt for a sweater tucked in his golf bag.
But there was good news. Kim took his drop and got down in three shots from 252 yards away, a thoroughly epic bogey.
And then more bad news, Kim had set social media alight and his reaction to finding this out was almost as good as the mud bath itself. With phone in hand, reality set in.
“Oh, no. Everybody knows?!”

Hovland’s day is coming

Despite his relative youth, Norwegian star Viktor Hovland already has a wealth of experience, especially in major championships. For a third time in-a-row, he had the opportunity to win it.
The three-time PGA Tour winner was in the final group with Rory McIlroy at last year’s 150th Open Championship, eventually finishing tied fourth, then only last month he held the overnight lead at the Masters at one stage before faltering to a tie for seventh. And this past week, another major slipped from his grasp, in far more agonising fashion.
Unlike his previous two majors, the 25-year-old was in the thick of it till the very end. Or until the 16th hole at least. He was in the final pairing with Koepka, and the duo had been trading birdies and bogeys, with Hovland joining the lead momentarily on two occasions, but a serious dose of bad luck would derail all hope.
After he found a fairway bunker from the 16th tee, Hovland looked to fire one out the sand towards the green, only to see his effort bury itself under the lip. It was an eerily similar fate that occurred to Canada’s Corey Conners only 24 hours prior, with the resulting double-bogey curtailing his round at a point when he was leading the championship.
The same fate felled Hovland and left him with no hope of catching Koepka with only two holes remaining.
To his credit, he dropped a 16-footer for birdie on the last, but lost to his playing partner by just two shots. He barely reacted.
Post-round, his emotion was clear to see. A dejected Hovland commented: “It sucks right now, but it is really cool to see that things are going in the right direction.
“First place is a lot better than tied for second, but it is fun to even just have a chance to [win] one of these.”

Brooks Koepka Viktor Hovland

Image credit: Getty Images

LIV golfers to feature in the Ryder Cup?

It’s certainly a real possibility now, almost an inevitability. With LIV golfer Koepka being victorious and DeChambeau finishing tied fourth, it confirms to us, once again, that these guys are great and arguably two of the strongest American players at the moment, despite not playing on the PGA Tour.
If they continue this kind of form, it would almost seem daft that captain Zach Johnson would overlook them, as well as the likes of Dustin Johnson. But that's exactly the headache he now has.
The PGA Tour banned LIV players from its events, with a legal fight between them due in court next May. Until then, the rival circuit's top talent only meets in majors - the only events where they can gain significant world ranking points to boost any chance of Ryder Cup qualification.
Koepka in particular could vault as high as second on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, thanks to his win and runner-up finish at The Masters. If the Florida native didn’t finish among the top six automatic qualifiers from the points list (he’ll be playing in only two more events that earn him points - the U.S. Open and Open Championship), he seems like he could be nailed on for a captain’s pick, potentially alongside Dustin Johnson and DeChambeau.
Zach Johnson said he hasn't spoken to anyone about having LIV players on the squad, overseen by the PGA of America, which allowed LIV qualifiers into the PGA Championship.
"I think it's too premature, frankly irresponsible, to even have any sort of opinion about that," Johnson said.
With time ticking towards the showdown at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Johnson will need to have these kinds of conversations soon as the U.S. team aims to win on European soil for the first time since 1993.
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