Major change as Koepka wins U.S. Open
By Steve Keating
ERIN, Wisconsin (Reuters) - The winds of change were blowing at the U.S. Open on Sunday as Brooks Koepka sailed to a four-stroke victory at Erin Hills, making it the seventh consecutive major that has crowned a first-time winner.
A changing of golf's old guard has been underway for some time but the 117th U.S. Open signalled that it can be considered complete with neither Phil Mickelson and/or Tiger Woods teeing up at major for the first time since the 1994 U.S. Masters.
Fans now run to see Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, the youth movement having firmly taken hold.
Koepka, South Korea's Kim Si-woo, Japan's Hideki Matusyama, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Americans Brian Harman and Rickie Fowler were the names battling for major glory on Sunday, rather than the likes of Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Ernie Els.
Sentiment and nostalgia will always find a place on the leaderboard, as 37-year-old Sergio Garcia showed by notching his first major win at the Masters in April, while 50-year-old Wisconsin-native Steve Stricker provided an emotional touchstone in an Erin Hills swan-song.
But the year's second major belonged to the young guns who tackled the longest layout ever for a U.S. Open.
Koepka, who looks as if he would be at home in a National Football League huddle, held firm against buffeting winds and crushing pressure to claim a sensational four-shot victory over Harman and Matsuyama.
The muscular American, who started the day one back of the lead, tamed his nerves and a wind-whipped course, carding six birdies, including two to kick-start his round, against a single bogey for a five-under 67. Continued...