PGA Championship 2023: The most memorable shot of Brooks Koepka's week is the last one you'd expect
Scott Taetsch/PGA of America
As viewers, when we see a clutch par (or bogey) save, it's immediately forgotten. On to the next televised shot. As for the golfers themselves, well, they remember everything, Tiger Wodos serving as the shining example. Ask him what he did on the fifth hole at the 2003 Buick Open and he'll go full Sean McVay on you.
Brooks Koepka isn't quite like Woods in that regard. He's not going to go shot-by-shot of his second-round 65 at the 2018 CJ Cup. But when it comes to the majors, Koepka's brain is fully engaged, which is why, when asked what the most memorable shot from the 2023 PGA Championship will be for him, Koepka went deep into his bag, pulling out an answer nobody expected.
No, it wasn't the fried-egg, blast-out shot from a bunker at the par-3 11th on Sunday, nor was it his third shot into the sixth green after rinsing his tee shot, leading to a clutch bogey. It wasn't his pummeled, 318-yard drive on the 72nd tee that all but sealed the deal or his approach to four feet on the 16th, yielding a monstrous late birdie. No, the five-time major winner went all the way back to Thursday morning, when things could have gone off the rails quickly at the aforementioned 11th.
"Right now, I still have to think," Koepka said after the victory. "I'm trying to think. Probably, you know what, probably that chip-in for par on 11, I think the first day."
The shot Koepka is referring to came on his second hole of the week, his seventh stroke of the tournament. After starting with a par on the 10th hole, Koepka badly pulled his tee shot on the mammoth 248-yard par 3, which ended up being a bad sign for the rest of the day, Koepka's worst ball-striking round. His second shot landed on the green but didn't stop, rolling through the back and leaving him with a gnarly stance and lie. Most would have signed for a bogey 4, but Brooks had other ideas:
Why this shot, Koepka was asked.
"I mean, I could have made double. Saved me," he said. "Usually when you make double, you don't win a major championship."
He's not lying. Koepka did not make a double the entire week and he won by two strokes. Viktor Hovland, who finished two back, doubled the 16th hole on Sunday. Corey Conners, who tied for 12th, also doubled the 16th on Saturday, eventually costing him the 54-hole lead. Cam Davis (T-4) doubled 17 on Thursday, while Bryson DeChambeau (also T-4) doubled the sixth hole on consecutive days. Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay and Kurt Kitayama, all top-10 finishes, all made double at some point this week. It's not impossible to win with a double bogey (see: Scottie Scheffler, 2022 Masters), but, as Koepka perfectly put it on Sunday, doubles usually don't get the job done in major championships, hence why that par chip-in from Round 1 is one he won't soon forget.