Brooks Koepka player profile: from the car crash that started him as a golfer to double US Open champion

Brooks Koepka background: we chart the ascent of the back-to-back US Open champion. 

Charlie Lemay's picture
Mon, 18 Jun 2018
Brooks Koepka player profile: from the car crash that started him as a golfer to double US Open champion

- Born May 3, 1990.

- Raised in Lake Worth.

- Aged 10 he fractured his nose and sinus cavity in a car crash and could not play contact sports. Spends his time at Okeeheelee Golf Course.

- Attends Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach and makes the team as a sixth grader.

- Aged 13, he ends his dad’s five-year club championship streak at Sherbrooke Golf, beating him in the final.

Koepka dominated in college. 

- Plays College Golf at Florida State, where he won three events and was a three-time all American.

- Was Golfer of the Year twice while at college, and holds the record for career stroke average (71.58) and single season stroke average (71.09).

- Koepka’s mother, Denise Jakows, beat cancer while he was in college, which had an impact on the youngster. “It made me figure out that life can go pretty quickly, so enjoy it,” he says. “Make people laugh, make the best of things. Maybe not take things as seriously.”

- Qualifies for 2012 US Open, but misses the cut.

A US Open debut in 2012. 

- Turns pro in the summer of 2012 and gets on the Challenge Tour in Europe.

- On playing in Europe: “I think it helped me grow up a little bit and really figure out that, ‘Hey, play golf, get it done, and then you can really take this somewhere.’ I built a lot of confidence off that.”

- Teams up with Claude Harmon III, who is still his coach today.

- Gets caddie Ricky Elliott on the bag, a former mini-tour player and coach from Northern Ireland.

Challenge Tour mugshot. 

- Wins the Challenge de Catalunya in September.

- In 2013 he wins again at the Montecchia Golf Open.

- A month later he adds another W at the Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana, setting a tournament record (-24) winning by 10 strokes.

- Gets a third win of the year at the Scottish Hydro Challenge, earning a European Tour card for the rest of 2013 and 2014.

Challenge Tour - complete it, mate. 

- Makes his European Tour debut at the Scottish Open, finishing T12.

Making in debut on the big boy Tour in 2013. 

- Plays the 2013 Open but misses the cut, and comes T70 at the US PGA.

At the 2013 US PGA witht he Big Cat - look at that grin. 

- Debuts on the PGA Tour in 2014 at the Open and leads going into Sunday. Ends on T3.

- On the European Tour in 2014, Koepka wins the Turkish Airlines Open, finishes third at the Dubai Desert Classic and European Masters, and ninth at the Dunhill Links.

A big W in Turkey - Brooks has the taste for it now...

- Finishes T4 at the 2014 US Open, earning him a PGA Tour card for 2014-2015

- Comes 15th at the 2014 US PGA, and is nominated for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.

- Ranked ninth in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai season, winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

Rookie of the Year. Made on the European Tour...

- In February 2015, he wins for the first time in the US at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

In amongst it in the US now. 

- Moves up to 19th in the world rankings.

- At the 2015 Open, he comes T10 at St Andrews.

- Ties for sixth at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

- Gets a T5 at the 2015 PGA Championship.

- Gives up his membership to the European Tour in 2015.

- Has seven top-10s, including two runner-ups at the AT&T Byron Nelson and St Jude Classic, in his 2015 season on the PGA Tour.

- Gets a T13 at the US Open, and finishes off with a T4 at the US PGA.


- Plays in a winning 2016 Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine, going 3-1-0.

- Places a T11 at the 2017 Masters, and has a runner-up and a T5 finish in the following weeks.

- Teams up with his brother Chase - who plays on Europe’s Challenge Tour - to come T5 in the 2017 Zurich Classic.

Into that pantheon of major champions

- Lands his first major at the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. Ties for lowest US Open score on -16.

- Plays in a winning Presidents Cup team at the end of the year.

- Takes three months off at the start of 2018 with a wrist injury

A troublesome wrist halts progress in 2018. 

- Re-injures it at the Players but continues playing, coming T11 - his first top 20 of the year.

A runner-up shows the boy still got it.

- Comes runner-up at the Fort Worth Invitational in May.

- Comes T30 at the St Jude Classic.

BOOM - back to back. 

- Goes back-to-back at the US Open, winning at Shinnecock Hills.

- Becomes the first player since Curtis Strange to defend the US Open.