For Brooks Koepka, it’s a U.S. Open marriage


Koepka is the first player since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989 to win two U.S. Opens in a row. Koepka fired his tee shot into the thick fescue and needed to drain a terrifying 12-foot putt to salvage a bogey. Phone to ear, Tommy Fleetwood's caddy talked through the logistics of a flight he thought he might miss.

Koepka, with a performance and a demeanor reminiscent of Retief Goosen winning at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, began the back nine with three pivotal putts - one for birdie, one for bogey, one for par.

"I don't have anything nice to say about that green and the pin location, so I'm just not going to say it". Literally, a couple of inches, in fact. "I don't want to say that I didn't think I could do it, but [back-to-back] made it that much more hard", he explained. Given the first one was staged in 1895 and there have been almost 300 in total, a landmark moment for the sport had moved into view. However, the reason he was able to shoot a one-over for the tournament and close with a two-under 68 was his ability to make clutch putts once he found his stride in the second round. The most recent: Justin Thomas previous year at the overall low-scoring Erin Hills, which posted a plaque in his honor. Johnson was a 9-1 favorite at Westgate entering the U.S. Open and was as high as -140 entering the weekend. We felt that it would work well given the forecast we had, but I think that now we would say that parts of this test of golf simply were too tough. I feel for the spectators because they are seeing pure carnage-unless that's what they want.

Some great golfers, fortunate ones, discover that one of their sport's major championships suits their style of play and their temperament perfectly. But when you think of the things that happened in the past, you have to err on the side of caution. Erin Hills is a big, wide course made for wind but the wind didn't blow and left a course very vulnerable by Open standards especially in the face of one of the longest hitters ever to play the game.

But he rebounded at the next hole with a marvelous approach shot that ended up 18 inches from the hole for a tap-in birdie, again putting him within two shots of the lead. His wedge settled eight feet from the hole.

Mickelson's outburst came after he rolled a putt well past the hole.

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Fleetwood did little wrong thereafter, as well.

Dustin Johnson is so damn talented, so overwhelmingly gifted, that a third-place finish in a major feels like a massive disappointment.

The one at the 18th was the one that induced a tinge of regret.

Here's a look at the final leaderboard, per

"Be careful what you wish for", he said. It was a feeling that would only grow as the afternoon shadows lengthened. He was in a four-way tie for the lead after three rounds at Shinnecock Hills and shot 68 on a benign course for a 1-over 281 total as no player could match par.