For him, the implications are obvious.
It was too late for one of the wildest Saturday shake-ups at the U.S. Open.
Dustin Johnson at least gets one more round to try to redeem himself in the U.S. Open. "I just keep doing what I'm doing, keep plugging away, kind of hide behind closed doors sometimes, which is nice, kind of the way I'd like to keep it", he said.
Twelve months ago he marked Koepka's winning card while finishing fourth at Erin Hills and his talents did not go unnoticed.
"After becoming the first player to successfully defend the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1988-89, Koepka will jump from ninth to fourth in the world rankings". ". He won on a classic, so he's an Open player". He said as much on Sunday.
"I enjoy the test, " Koepka said. "I don't think I could have dreamed of this, going back to back".
"I've not won a major, and I've not won a Ryder Cup, so [my dreams are] not reality yet", Fleetwood said. But once it was time to come back, he didn't flinch. "It really is. I really can't even put words to it". But it seems incapable of avoiding controversy when it comes to the U.S. Open, a tournament that once had the highest stature in golf but has I believe for most golf fans been eclipsed by the Masters and British Open (PGA Championship, don't even ask).
At the last U.S. Open here, Shinnecock Hills gained notoriety for slick greens that had to be watered between groups. All of those golfers are Americans, age 28 or younger. It also happened in 1981-82 but is unprecedented this century.
There are no signs of the US slowing down.
After all, he was the lone survivor of Saturday's chaos, posting the best score of any player to tee off after noon at 1-over. And, you know, it showed. That 20-year drag into this era in which we are now living. With all the money her husband had just made (roughly $1.3 million), he said with a laugh, they might be able to afford a later flight. And Fleetwood is also likely to become more and more familiar as well. "I was just lucky to be out here to watch it".
How long can this go on?
Two other major champions - Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson - were right behind, and both had a share of the lead at one point. "He'll definitely be holding some major championships here soon". Recent history tells us this has already started. The South African won at Shinnecock in 2004, then led by three shots at Pinehurst the next year. It is not clear when she and Koepka began to date, but it was not long before she entered the spotlight during Koepka's U.S. Open celebration. While expecting him to win this year was perhaps unrealistic, his inability to make any putts - or the cut - was a disappointment in his comeback.
5 Rickie Fowler (65, T20) bettered his third-round 84 by 19 shots and shared the record for low front nine (31) for the week with Hideki Matsuyama (66, T16) and Reed. With wind that was stronger than expected, and a few pin positions that turned the U.S. Open into carnival golf, it was easy to see why. They aren't the favorite, but maybe they should be. There was the 2010 U.S. Open and PGA, the 2011 Open, the 2015 U.S. Open.
If he is to win the US Open - the first major of his career - he could be set to pocket $2,160,000. That's a big deal and a fascinating subplot for what has already been an outstanding year in golf.
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