Dusek On Tiger: It Felt Like The Mid-2000s

Tiger Woods finished runner-up at the PGA Championship – and provided brilliant theater along the way

August 14, 2018 - 8:29 am

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Tiger Woods didn’t win the PGA Championship this past weekend, but he came close, ultimately losing to Brooks Koepka by two strokes.

It was brilliant theater.

“It’s been a decade since the guy’s won a major championship, and the crowd was totally into it right from the get-go,” Golfweek senior writer David Dusek said on Ferrall on the Bench. “That’s exactly what they wanted. They wanted Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard from two decades ago just going at it – and Tiger delivered. Pandemonium is breaking out with Tiger Woods, then you look at Brooks Koepka, who was just totally unfazed, wasn’t going to be rattled.”

Koepka, in fact, birdied the first hole at Bellerive on Sunday.

“Basically sends a message that it’s possible he could lose, but he was not going to (cave),” Dusek said. “A lot of people want to talk about Tiger Woods – and we should – but it’s really critical that we recognize the fact that Brooks Koepka has wrapped up the Player of the Year honors. He’s won two majors this season, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the guy because he doesn’t put out big fist-pumps and he’s not real boisterous – he’s pretty quiet by nature – but the talent is just unbelievable.”

Woods was playing for his 15th major championship – and his first since 2008. He shot 66-66-64 over the final three rounds.

“To see him coming through, to see the reaction of the people, you realized how big of a superstar this guy is,” Dusek said. “There aren’t that many players in any sport that transcend. It was fantastic. It was like being back in the mid-2000s again. . . .  If he wins a major championship next year, we’re not going to be surprised anymore. Just an unbelievable thing to say considering where he was a year ago.”

Koepka, meanwhile, won his third major. He won the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018.

“Koepka was a machine this week,” Dusek said. “He hits it as far as anybody, and when he needed to come up with shots – when he needed to make putts on the back nine – he did it. Thank God he’s going to be playing for the U.S. in the Ryder Cup in September. He is going to be a tough out for people. He is just so filled with confidence, and right now is just commanding the respect of everybody. Even though he doesn’t jump up and down and grab headlines, there isn’t a going to be a guy out there (from) the FedEx Cup Playoffs through the Ryder Cup that’s not going to understand that he is, right now, the man.”