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He is Brooks Koepka

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Anthony L. Cuaycong

Courtside

Wikipedia has a good many uses, never mind its susceptibility to inaccuracy given its crowd-sourcing predilections. Creditably, its contributory nature likewise lends itself to speedy corrections in line with its mandate as a purveyor of facts. Edits to entries, particularly new ones, are frequent and constant in the name of truth. That said, the mistakes, intended or not, last long enough for social media hounds to preserve for posterity; in this regard, the targets are mostly those with a humorous bent, and the goal is to generate laughs.

Take, for instance, an entry to Brooks Koepka’s Wikipedia page the other day. “Koepka is currently the owner of the PGA Tour and is Brandel Chamblee’s father,” it noted to the delight of golf fans. It was taken down quickly, of course, but it had already cracked Facebook and Twitter by then, and was subsequently picked up by a handful of news sites. And, no doubt, the reigning PGA Championship and United States Open titleholder and his friends shared a few laughs over it.

To be sure, the hearty appreciation for the embellishment of the naughty Wikipedia volunteer stems from Koepka’s seeming mastery in and of golf’s premier tournaments. In ruling Bethpage Black over the weekend, he became the only player in the sport’s history to retain two major titles in the same year. And that he did so in dominant fashion serves only to underscore that he does “own” the tour. Even as he coasted in the third round and sputtered on the back nine of the fourth, he built such a large cushion over the first two days — while not coincidentally toiling alongside Tiger Woods — that he still finished at least two strokes clear of the rest of the field.

Meanwhile, broadcast analyst Chamblee became the subject of the same Wikipedia sentence due to comments he made during the Masters last month and in the run-up to the PGA Championship. Koepka, he argued, could not be considered a legitimate challenger to Woods’ reign at the top due to a relative lack of toughness. “You extrapolate from accomplishment, you infer qualities from a human being like, ‘He’s really tough.’ Maybe he is, I don’t know. I got to say, I still need to be convinced.” His comments weren’t appreciated by the golfer, who tweeted a picture of him with a photoshopped clown nose and then, more importantly, went on to prove him wrong.

In the aftermath of Koepka’s PGA Championship victory, Chamblee gladly ate crow and compared him to Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan. Judging from his comments, he didn’t appear to be in the mood for magnanimity, however. “Telling me I wasn’t tough, that pissed me off. That really pissed me off,” he said in his post-mortem. Which is to say he was extra-motivated to prevail. Perhaps he should actually thank the pundit for spurring him to action. He was certainly laser-focused heading into the first tee of his first round at Bethpage Black, and so much so that he spurned two good-luck-kiss attempts by girlfriend Jena Sims.

Not surprisingly, Koepka has been installed as the odds-on favorite to defend his US Open Trophy next month. In typical fashion, though, he’s already looking beyond — okay, way beyond — Pebble Beach. “Double digits, easy. I don’t see why I can’t get to double digits” was his reply to a query by CNN’s Don Riddell on his projected haul of career Grand Slam wins. It may sound cocky, but it’s nonetheless an earnest assessment from a proven commodity who has never been one to shirk from great expectations. He is who he is. And precisely because he is who he is, he can’t be questioned.




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POSTSCRIPT: Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. successfully revived its charity golf tournament early this month, drawing 120 players, and, more importantly, some P5 million in sponsorships and donations. Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc. figures to use all the proceeds for the benefit of social responsibility programs in the communities where CCBPI has a presence.

 

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994.

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