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Rory McIlroy responds to Brooks Koepka’s ‘no rivalry’ remarks

Brooks Koepka ruffled some feathers in the golf world ahead of last week’s CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea when Koepka said he doesn’t believe there’s a rivalry with Rory McIlroy on the sheer basis Rory McIlroy hasn’t won a major in five years.

On Monday ahead of the made-for-TV The Challenge: Japan Skins, McIlroy kind of agreed with Koepka’s assessment of the situation.

“What Brooks said wasn’t wrong. I mean, he’s been the best player in the world the last couple years – four majors. I don’t think he had to remind me that I haven’t won one in a while,” McIlroy said in Japan.

“I love Brooks, he’s a great guy. Obviously super competitive, like we all are. I guess I can see where he’s coming from.”

Koepka is the world No. 1 by a large margin in the Official World Golf Ranking, won the PGA Championship in 2019, took home two other PGA Tour trophies on the season and finished in the top five in all four majors. It’s a rare year.

However, McIlroy enjoyed an outstanding year of his own. He won three times, including The Players Championship, which many of McIlroy’s peers rate as a major-caliber victory, and he ran a strokes-gained figure not seen this side of Tiger Woods’ peak. Along with winning the FedEx Cup, McIlroy’s year was enough to earn him the peer-voted PGA Tour Player of the Year award. (Who knows how much personal rapport with each player had a hand in the voting, but it’s naive not to acknowledge them.)

With McIlroy’s win at East Lake to take the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup’s $15 million first-place prize, there was talk of a potential budding rivalry. Koepka swatted that down solely on how the pair have played the majors.

“I’ve been out here for what, five years,” Koepka said in South Korea. “Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I don’t view it as a rivalry.”

However, McIlroy took it more as a statement of record, not so much throwing down a gauntlet or Koepka stiff-arming McIlroy.

“I think if you take what Brooks said out of context then it can become this big thing that it’s become,” McIlroy said. “But Brooks and I are good, we’re good friends.”

4 thoughts on “Rory McIlroy responds to Brooks Koepka’s ‘no rivalry’ remarks

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    Herman AND LINDA Stavis


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    Another American buffoon and a European with class. ?

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    Rory, a true gentleman?

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    Rory has been, and remains, one, if not ‘the’ classiest PGA player on the planet! His response to Brooks’ ‘rivalry’ comment underscores that point and he has been that way since he joined the tour. His Masters loss on the back nine that fateful Sunday, and his meeting with the Press head-on immediately thereafter spoke volumes about his character, ethics and class. All of his press interviews are honest and refreshing to watch. Rory is golf’s Roger Federer … it doesn’t get any better than that in professional sports.

    I think Brooks is an extremely talented golfer, as his tour record the past 2-3 years attests, but talent alone does not make the man or the athlete. He is good for the game and the Tour, but he is ‘classless,’ and that is an important attribute you cannot teach, and one that he has demonstrated on several occasions this past season. That’s really too bad! Will Books ever have have the fan love and following that Rory enjoys … nope! It’s not in his DNA! He intimates that he has a ‘chip’ on his shoulder … that’s okay if it fuels the competitive fire that helps him win tournaments. That attitude rarely translates into long-term fan loyalty and adoration. I also don’t think he cares about it anyway.

    The PGA Tour is sadly looking for someone to fill the ‘Tiger’ void, which is becoming very old and tidiest in my opinion … get over it Golf Channel and Jim Nance!

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