Brooks Koepka: World number one dismisses notion of McIlroy rivalry

Brooks Koepka: World number one dismisses notion of McIlroy rivalry

McIlroy pipped Koepka to be named PGA Tour player of the year by his fellow professionals

World number one Brooks Koepka has dismissed the notion he has a big rivalry with Rory McIlroy.

Koepka, whose closest challenger in the world rankings is McIlroy, pointed out that the Northern Irishman hasn’t won a major since the American joined the PGA Tour in 2015.

“I’m not looking at anybody behind me. I’m number one in the world,” he said.

“I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry.

“I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour.”

Koepka, 29, was speaking on the eve of the CJ Cup PGA Tour event which starts in South Korea on Thursday.

“You know if the fans do [call it a rivalry], then that’s on them and it could be fun,” added the world number one, who equalled McIlroy’s tally of four major wins by successfully defending his US PGA Championship in May.

Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship in August to clinch the PGA Tour’s Fedex Cup title

McIlroy without a major title since 2014 US PGA

McIlroy’s last major triumph came at the same venue in 2014 although he did win the PGA Tour’s Fedex Cup title this year and was also named player of the year by his fellow PGA Tour professionals.

“Look I love Rory he’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it,” continued Koepka.

McIlroy, 30, claimed that he used a rivalry mentality to see off the American at the season-ending Tour Championship in August.

Four weeks earlier, Koepka had comprehensively outplayed McIlroy to win the World Golf Championship event in Memphis and the Northern Irishman said that he had been determined to avenge that defeat in the PGA Tour finale.

“He Koepka talked about trying to be the dominant player in the game … and I thought: ‘He’s going to have to go through me first’,” said McIlroy after his East Lake triumph.

“If that’s both of our mentalities going forward, I think that’s good for the game.”

In addition to successfully defending the US PGA title, Koepka was also runner-up at the Masters and US Open and shared fourth place at the Open Championship, with McIlroy’s best major finish in 2019 an eighth place at the US PGA.

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