Jan 07, 2020
Top-Ranked Koepka Commits to Play in The 2020 Honda Classic
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL — Brooks Koepka, the No. 1 player in the World for the past eight months, has committed to play in the 2020 Honda Classic, a PGA TOUR event which will be held February 24-March 1 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Koepka, a 29-year-old West Palm Beach product, has been the hottest player in golf for two seasons now behind incredible performances in Major championships. Four of his seven PGA TOUR victories have come in Majors.
Koepka, who last year tied for second with Rickie Fowler behind Keith Mitchell at The Honda Classic, won the PGA Championship after finishing second at The Masters. He also finished second at the U.S. Open and fourth at the British Open. He was the fifth player in history to finish in the top five in all four Majors.
At the PGA Championship at Bethpage in New York, Koepka overcame final day struggles in high winds to hold off Dustin Johnson by two strokes. The victory allowed him to supplant Johnson and regain the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Koepka would have been the first player since Willie Anderson in 1903-05 to win three consecutive U.S. Opens, but Gary Woodland caught fire to beat him by three strokes even though Koepka was the first player in history to post four scores in the 60’s and not win.
Koepka’s 2019 accomplishments came after he won the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in 2018 and the U.S. Open in 2017. He was the first player to win back-to-back titles at both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship and joined six others as winners of multiple titles at both tournaments (Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods).
At the 2019 Honda Classic, Koepka birdied two of his final three holes in the final round on Sunday to post a 4-under 66 and claim a share of second place with Fowler at 8-under 272. That was one stroke behind Mitchell, who holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win.
“Every golfer and fan in the local community obviously takes great pride in what Brooks has accomplished the past several years,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “We are excited that he has decided to return to The Honda Classic. His presence will undoubtedly create an enormous amount of excitement at this year’s tournament.”
Koepka preferred baseball to golf as a kid but switched his focus in high school at Cardinal Newman. He learned the game on the public courses of West Palm Beach, but was not an accomplished Junior player. He ended up attending college at Florida State and blossomed into a three-time All American even though he did not win a tournament until his senior year.
Four victories on the European Challenge Tour allowed him to graduate to the European Tour and also test the PGA TOUR in 2014.
“Going over there was a bunch of fun. It’s the best time I’ve ever had playing golf,” Koepka said. “You become more of a well-rounded player playing different places, having to travel, doing that sort of thing. I felt like I was good enough to be out here (on the PGA TOUR) when I was there. It’s just hard to get out here. I felt like if I just did what I was supposed to do and kind of dug deep and stayed patient that I was going to find a way. Luckily enough it was pretty quick.”
He made 12 of 16 cuts with two top 10 finishes to earn his TOUR card for 2015. That’s when he put together a breakthrough season with his first victory (Waste Management Phoenix Open) and eight Top 10 finishes. Koepka had five top five finishes in 2016 before beginning his major run at the 2017 Open.
Everything came together at Erin Hills. His 72-hole total of 16-under 272 tied the tournament record for lowest total under par, which was set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional Country Club in 2011. He had six additional Top 10 performances during the year to go alongside the Open victory.
In 2018, Koepka was the PGA TOUR Player of the Year behind the U.S. Open and PGA Championship victories.
Koepka has stayed humble despite his enormous success.
“I view myself completely differently than people view me,” he said. “I still think it’s weird when I walk into a place and I can see eyes are on me just for dinner. And I’m like, What’s everybody staring at?
“I just view myself as a regular guy, just like everybody else. And I just happen to be really good at golf, and that’s it. I don’t view myself any different than anybody else does. I’m just a regular guy. That’s how I’d like to be treated. I don’t want to be put up on a — I don’t want to say a pedestal or anything like that, but I just want to be just like everybody else, just a normal person.”
The Honda Classic awarded a record-shattering $5.1 million to 157 South Florida philanthropic organizations last year, the 13th consecutive year that the PGA TOUR event has been able to increase its impact on the lives of local children and their families. More than 75,000 children and their families benefited from the Honda Classic Cares initiative.
Grounds tickets, Bear Trap tickets and other hospitality tickets and packages for the 2020 Honda Classic are on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-8Honda8 (844-846-6328).