Newly-crowned US Open champion Brooks Koepka has admitted in the wake of his first major success that he’d once considered quitting the sport.
The 27-year-old American golfer carded a 16-under par total for a four-stroke US Open win at Erin Hills, Wisconsin on Monday (NZ time). But it could have all been so much different.
Four years ago the then 23-year-old American shot a 62 in the third round of the Scottish Hydro Challenge at the Spey Valley Golf near to the Highlands skiing town of Aviemore.
He was in striking distance of the third Challenge Tour victory he needed to earn instant promotion to the European Tour, yet emotionally he was going downhill fast. Koepka had been on the punishing Challenge Tour schedule, taking in events from Kazakhstan to Kenya.
“It was a low point,” Koepka said after Monday’s win. “I called my manager Blake Smith that night and I was like ‘I don’t even want to play this final round – I just want to go home’. I don’t want to say I was homesick, I was just tired of golf, tired of travelling. Even though I had the lead, I just wanted to get out.”
Smith talked him out of it and Koepka duly went on to win, collecting £25,000 and a £25 trophy for his efforts.
Koepka underlined his talent by shooting rounds of 69 and 65 to win the qualifier and book his place at Muirfield. That was his second major and he missed the cut, but he finished tied fourth in the 2014 US Open and with two more top fives in the majors in the next two years arrived at Erin Hills ready to fulfill his destiny.