Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Koepka crushes the Tiger party, Iceland’s golfing victory



American Brooks Koepka rose above the drama on Sunday despite relinquishing his two-shot overnight lead at one stage during the final round before eventually winning the PGA Championship at St Louis. Elsewhere Iceland scored a team golf win, yes there is golf in Iceland, and NBA star Steph Curry had two contrasting rounds on the second-tier tour in the States.


Opening drive


“Tiger Woods can go back to swinging a golf club “as much as he needs to do” says his agent Mark Steinberg. Wait. What? Woods was almost consigned to the end of his career wasn’t he? No, I am not going down the rabbit hole. I will not watch the footage. Please don’t give me the death-of-career-by-press-release again.”


October 18 2017


Well that lament was somewhat misplaced wasn’t it?


A career-best final round score of 64 for Tiger Woods was the story at the Bellerive Country Club but it was a third career major for fellow American Brooks Koepka who finished at 16 under, two clear of Woods and the rest of the field.


On Woods the conversation has most certainly moved from my comments of nine months ago to when the 42-year old’s fused back will carry him to his next victory. It’s a great time to be a golf fan, and a TV executive covering golf.


Koepka’s second major triumph of 2018 was the third major he has won in six starts (he missed the Masters due to injury) and bought up his eleventh career triumph.


Now up to world number two in the world last week’s column pick Koepka is only the third active player under the age of 40 to win three or more majors. Prolific PGA winner Dustin Johnson has only one major (2016 US Open) to his name but Koepka is a far more dominant figure when it comes to the key tournaments despite the hype around Johnson and still major-less Rickie Fowler who at 29 is older than Koepka.


Greens in regulation

This is the last chance for those on the fringe to make the FedEx Cup finals series event sees the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina. Swede Henrik Stenson was the winner last year.


Under 20: Webb Simpson. With many of the top liners missing the week after a major Simpson, who was third here last year, comes into the event ranked 12th in the standings. Simpson also won the event in 2011.


20 to 50: Sergio Garcia. Since the 2017 Masters triumph Garcia’s progress wouldn’t perhaps be what he would have expected with just one win in Singapore. This season in the Fed Ex Cup rankings he sits at 131st and needs a finish of top 20 or better to make the first event of the finals series. He’s currently ranked 25 in the world, was T8 in France six weeks ago and won here in 2012.


20 to 50: Brandt Snedeker. The 2007 winner (albeit at a different venue) has four other top ten finishes in this tournament and has two top eight finishes in his last four starts.


20 to 50: Julian Suri. A winner in the Denmark and the Czech Republic last year with the former a European Tour event Suri has finished T19 and (PGA) and T28 (Open) which were his last two starts so is playing well and is close to entering the top 60 in the world – this time last year he was ranked 220.


Greens in regulation

Last week we mentioned about the European Golf Team Championships and there were wins for Iceland, Spain, and Sweden at the inaugural event. Iceland claimed the mixed event with Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Bigir Hafthorsson, Axel Boasson and Olafia Kristinsdottir prevailing in the foursomes stroke play over one of the Great Britain teams at the Gleneagles event. Spain 1 duo of Pedro Oriol and Scott Fernandez beat Iceland at the Glasgow venue to claim the men’s team event whilst the women’s gold medal went to the Swedish duo of Cajsa Persson and Linda Wessberg.


Realistically the golf component of the European Championships won’t reach the heights of the athletics and other sports in this now joint event but it can have a place and grow in coming years, particularly given the PGA Championship is going to be moved to earlier in the year as of 2019. This sees a chance to attract bigger names.


As an aside look up Jakob Ingebrigtsen – the star of the track and field in Berlin. The 17-year-old Norwegian was the victor in the 1,500 metres and 5,000 metres. Beating his two brothers in the 1,500!


Tap in

Three-time NBA winner Steph Curry had the crowds excited at the Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic with an opening round 71 before he flamed out with a 16 over 86 to end up last in the tournament missing the cut. Featuring in a regular second-tier event and not a pro-am is an example of Curry’s desire to perform at another high level in sport. His return appearance to TPC Stonebrae in San Francisco yielded five birdies across the 36 holes he played. In his two appearances Curry has scored 74,74,71, and 86 for an average of 76.25. That would, obviously, miss the cut most weeks on the tour but the fact Curry is doing this and competing as he did in Thursday is quite incredible when he concentrates on training and playing basketball for 10-11 months per year.


This week the LPGA returns to Indianapolis for the (wait for it) Indy Women in Tech Championship Driven by Group 1001 (phew) won last year in convincing fashion by Lexi Thompson. The Australasian PGA Tour heads to Palmerston for the Northern Territory PGA Championship with Wollongong’s Travis Smyth the defending champion.


After a brief hiatus form full field events the European Tour’s Nordea Masters takes place at the Hills Golf and Sports Club Course in Gothenburg. Italian Renato Paratore was the victor at the Swedish course last year.


About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.


  1. Koepka is ice cool under pressure and just doesn’t make mistakes. Woods and Scott both played some wonderful golf, but there lack of consistent recent competition meant both cracked on the later holes. Like footballers without a solid pre-season.
    Loved the link to Golf in Iceland. 24 hours a day in the land of the midnight sun! One for the bucket list.
    On a more disappointing note – Perth’s Minwoo Lee (brother of LPGA star Minjee) missed out in the stroke play qualifying for the 64 match play knockout spots in the US Amateur this week at Pebble Beach. Read a recent article hyping him as the next Tiger Woods! Still 3 Australians and one Kiwi made the final cut. Hopefully I can find it on Foxtel.
    Fox Sports soccer offering have been gutted with now losing the Champions and Europa Leagues after losing EPL last year. $65 a month is a lot for AFL and golf. I have little interest in cricket and the rugby codes. Free to air covers the big tennis tournaments ok.
    Time to research my streaming and VPN options. Any suggestions Knackers?

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