It would be nice to have something fun to discuss about the Royals – unfortunately there is nothing.
The NBA playoffs have a new power team with the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Golden State Warriors, defending NBA champions, are going to be tough to handle with or without Kevin Durant.
Hockey fans have to love the fire of the home state St. Louis Blues. This could actually be the year for the Blues to finally win the Stanley Cup after getting to the finals for the first time in 49 years.
These are all late spring team sports stories, but the biggest story is in the golf world. Brooks Koepka has won four of the last eight major golf championships and has been making it look easy. In the words of Tiger Woods after his Friday round in the PGA, “He hits the ball the same place I did when I was younger, but it is 20 yards further.”
That is quite a statement from one of the longest hitters in the history of golf. The televised PGA Tournament showed the hazard areas that generally wreak havoc for most golfers, but his tee shots would travel 20-30 yards over the sand traps and hazards in most cases. His strength is obvious, but he also has an ability to hit the ball out of impossible roughs and on to the greens.
The PGA is famous for creating a rough marathon for all of its PGA Championships. I went to a PGA Championship 10 years ago and the rough was thick and ankle high. If a ball is dropped in the rough, it can’t be seen without digging for it. It is impossible to predict how a ball will come out of a rough that high and which club to use is also a guessing game.
Koepka can make a shot out of the rough and onto the green without it appearing difficult. He seems to rise to the occasion in all of the majors. A player has to be able to match him shot for shot in order to stay in the hunt on Sunday.
He also possesses a gift of touch in the short game. He is able to get everything on the green in order to at least par the hole. He is an amazing putter under pressure. The guy is built like a middle linebacker but putts like a tap dancer. Koepka is definitely in the “grinder” category. He will take your heart out if you stumble just once.
Tiger has been a hot topic for many years, but Koepka is a newer version of Tiger Woods. He is a physical specimen. He played both football and baseball in high school. He consistently lifts weights and works out. He is stacked up in a golf shirt. He thrives on the big stage and possesses all the qualities Tiger brought to the game of golf in his prime.
We often get caught up in the past and fail to recognize greatness in the present. In the past two years, Koepka has played like Tiger in his legendary career. Four major championships is pale in comparison to the 15 accumulated by Tiger, but this young player deserves credit as the most dominant player in the majors today. He is a beast!
His reaction to a birdie is the same as his reaction to a bogey. He is mentally tough and a cold-blooded competitor. The real test for him will be if he can stay hungry. If he feels satisfied with four majors, he may be a two-year phenom. My bet, however, is that he will continue to play like a hungry dog and will continue to be the dominant name in golf for the next 10 years.
The quote of the week comes former world heavyweight boxing champion, Smokin’ Joe Frazier: “There’s one thing I don’t ever think about – losing. A fighter who thinks about losing is a born loser. Instead, I think about how I’m going to win, how I can do it the quickest way.” Brooks Koepka plays golf like Joe Frazier used to box. He will knock you out!
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.