Brooks Koepka has been hailed as the finest player of his generation following his triumph in the PGA Championship over the weekend.
That is the view of golf journalist Michael McEwan after the 33-year-old lifted the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time and joined golfing greats Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player as those who have won five majors before the age of 34.
Koepka’s triumph at Oak Hill by two shots came on the back of his second-place finish at the Masters – the fourth runner-up spot in a major of his career – and, speaking on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast, McEwan echoed views the American has proven himself to be one of the best of this era.
“I think it was Andrew Coltart made reference to this in commentary on Sunday night and I wholeheartedly agree, Brooks Koepka is the best player of his generation – there is no doubt about that,” McEwan told Sky Sports.
“Is he the most talented, that’s a different matter? But for me, he’s the best player and the best winner.
“Dustin Johnson might have won more times as a professional, but whose career would you rather have? The guy with two major titles and lots and lots of tour titles, or the guy who has won things that matter five times.
“Look at the company Brooks Koepka is in in the things we say matter. He’s along Seve Ballesteros right now and he’ll unquestionably overtake that… No one can hold a candle to him being a winner when it matters most in this generation.”
Koepka’s victory was the first in one of the sport’s four majors by a member of the LIV Golf series and talk inevitably turned to whether he and other members of the rebel tour would be considered for a call-up to this year’s Ryder Cup by Team USA captain Zach Johnson.
Koepka cannot play in PGA Tour events since joining LIV last summer but remains eligible for the Ryder Cup as a member of the PGA of America, with the majors offering he and players from the Saudi circuit the opportunity to earn qualification points.
His two recent major results have parachuted the former world No 1 to second in the US Ryder Cup qualification standings with the top six automatically qualifying. Johnson has a further six captain’s picks at his disposal for players who do not automatically qualify.
McEwan is in no doubt the player who has been part of America’s last three Ryder Cup squads should be included again, regardless of whether he plays on the PGA Tour or in the LIV series.
“Of course, he does,” McEwan said. “You tell me if that American team is stronger or weaker without Brooks Koepka?
“The Ryder Cup is not and should not be about your tour loyalties. The PGA Tour has no stake in the Ryder Cup; For America, it’s the PGA of America, which is not the same as the PGA Tour.
“The Ryder Cup will be devalued for me at this point in time if Brooks Koepka isn’t on that team because it wouldn’t be the best American team possible.
“Zach Johnson has six picks, and he needs to justify why he’s leaving out a reigning major champion at the expense of someone he is bringing in. That’s an argument he’d struggle to make.”
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