TelevisionJune 19, 2017

Brandel Chamblee and the anatomy of Brooks Koepka's dominant U.S. Open performance

Richard Heathcote

Brooks Koepka poses with the winner's trophy after his victory at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee doesn’t just shoot from the lip, as many of his detractors no doubt think he does. Whatever his analysis (or whether you agree or not), thought and research have gone into it.

So, that said, here is his take from the Live From the U.S. Open show on Sunday night on how Brooks Koepka dismantled Erin Hills and the field:

“You sit around sometimes at the 19th hole and you play that game, the composite player. What if somebody drove it like Nicklaus, hit their irons like Johnny Miller, had a short game like Seve, putted like Tiger Woods?

“More contemporary analysis would be, what if you hit as straight as Jim Furyk and putted like Brandt Snedeker? Well, [Koepka] hit as many fairways this week as Jim Furyk. He putted as well as Brandt Snedeker. In between, he was a man of his own.

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“You start to look at what he did and you wonder, why hasn’t this guy done this all the time, what he did this week versus other weeks? Typically he averages about 50 percent of the fairways. This week he hit 87.5 percent of the fairways. When you consider he was driving the ball about 320 yards, that’s mind-blowing enough. Typically he hits 63 percent of the greens. This week 86 percent of the greens. Incidentally, the first person in history to hit over 80 percent of the fairways and 80 percent of the greens.

“This is the more important picture: the rough proximity. For whatever reason, he’s not good out of the rough. Now that’s the reason he hits only 63 percent of the greens. He’s almost the worst on tour out of the rough. But this week, because he was not ever in the rough he could match greens for every fairway he hit.

“Yes, you can say the fairways were wide, and they were, but they were also sloped. He was quite a bit better than average and quite a bit better than his average. And time and time again he was amongst, if not the longest in the field. He’s standing up there, he’s never done this before, playing for a U.S. Open, this sets him up to do the rest of the work with his iron play.”

And there you have it, the anatomy of a dominant performance.


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