Since the start of 2017 Brooks Koepka’s cumulative score in major events is a simply staggering 54-under, 21 shots better off than his closest challenger Jordan Spieth.
During this period of dominance the American has won four of the nine majors he’s rocked up at, accumulating back-to-back US Open and PGA Championship triumphs. This week at the iconic Pebble Beach the 29-year-old has the chance to propel that tally to five.
If Koepka does finish top of the pile at the US Open for the third successive year he will move alongside the likes of Phil Michelson and Seve Ballesteros - on five major successes - and in the process dart clear of Rory McIlroy, who has failed to win any of golf’s big four events since 2014.
A year ago at Shinnecock Hills Koepka became the first player to retain the US Open since Curtis Strange won in 1988 and 1989, and the 22nd player to claim multiple titles at the event. Only six players have ever won the tournament three or more times, and only one of these victors has triumphed three times in a row: Willie Anderson, who achieved this feat between 1903 and 1905.
Fast-forward 114 years and Koepka, a 9/1 shot this week, is the fifth player since Anderson to attempt to become a fellow US Open hat-trick hero, although he’s typically playing it down.
“I haven’t talked about three in a row, I’m not thinking about it,” said Koepka in the Standard. I know the odds are stacked against me. It’s hard to win the same event three times in a row. I don’t know how many times it’s even been done on the PGA, let alone a Major championship.”
You have to go back to 1956 (The Open) to uncover when a player, Peter Thomson, last won a single major three years on the bounce, highlighting just how rare and stunning a feat it would be if Koepka was to conjure up a rare three-peat.
In fact, only six players in the history of major competition have won three of the same major in succession, two of which hold the record with four straight triumphs: Walter Hagan & Tom Morris Jr. 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all time, made only one successful major defence during his career.
Players who have won three - or more - of the same major in succession
- Walter Hagan (PGA Championship): 1924, 1925, 1926 & 1927
- Tom Morris Jr. (Open): 1868, 1869, 1870 & 1872*
- Peter Thomson (Open): 1954, 1955 & 1956
- Willie Anderson (US Open): 1903, 1904 & 1905
- Bob Ferguson (Open): 1880, 1881 & 1882
- Jamie Anderson (Open): 1877, 1878 & 1879
*There was no Open in 1871
So in the 450th major the World No.1 player in the world has the chance to do something pretty special, and you wouldn't bet against him either. Koepka, runner-up to Tiger Woods at the Masters, has remarkably only finished outside of the top-25 in one of his last 13 major showings, while he hasn’t missed a Cut in 18 major tournaments dating back to his first two appearances in 2012 (US Open) and 2013 (Open).
In terms of his current form, he has five top-10s this season, including that PGA Championship victory last month, although it's worth noting that he hasn’t played a whole lot at Pebble Beach - just the one Pro-Am appearance (T8). Got to give his fellow competitors a bit of a chance, eh?