Koepka finally might be starting to warm up

Commentary

With four major championships in his last eight major starts, you have to tip your cap to Brooks Koepka for winning last week’s PGA Championship held at Bethpage Black on Long Island.

Up to this point, there’s been a running narrative that Koepka, known for his powerful swing and no-nonsense attitude, just wasn’t as good as his record would indicate.

Along the way, his low-key personality certainly hasn’t helped in capturing the hearts of golf fans — unlike golfers such as Tiger Woods, who enthralls viewers, or PGA stars Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who are regular fan favorites.

Through golf history, many prolific winners have worked to control their emotions during competition. Koepka, however, has seemingly gone to great lengths to show no emotion at all — before, during or after tournaments and especially during the biggest events.

It’s only human nature for fans to heartily root for their sporting heroes ….whether it be Woods fist-pumping his way to victory or Spieth celebrating yet another win by chest-bumping his caddie.

However, there seems to be no similar emotions while watching Koepka.

When Koepka won his first major at the 2017 U.S. Open, I watched in amazement as he walked off the last green with little more than a quick wave to the crowd and an emotionless gaze as he headed to the scorer’s tent.

The same somber persona was displayed at a press conference that followed. Similar, emotionless reactions were repeated at both the 2018 U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

I guess it’s not a necessity for sports stars to share their excitement with fans, but after last week’s triumph Koepka seemed to show a dent in his armor. Finishing up his latest, hard-fought victory, Koepka was actually all smiles afterward, and he was also unusually candid in describing the nervousness he felt down the stretch.

While this most recent victory increased Koepka’s major title count from three to four, the way in which he engaged fans after his win might be Koepka’s biggest victory to date.

Palmer’s home

All golf fans know that the beloved Arnold Palmer grew up in nearby Latrobe, a little more than an hour’s drive from the Altoona area.

His death in 2016, at age 87, was a sad day in golf history.

Recently, his home of more than 60 years, located near Latrobe Country Club, was put on the market and listed at $880,000. Built in 1957, the home offers four bedrooms, three baths and a wrap-around deck.

Not included, however, is the famous depression-era tractor that showed up in many of the commercials Palmer appeared in over the years.

Huntingdon update

It’s great news to hear that Huntingdon Country Club has been flourishing this spring.

Late last year, there was some doubt as to the future of this historic course, which opened as a nine-hole layout in the early 1920s.

Over the years, the club has enjoyed a rich history, boasting some of the area’s most prolific golfing champions, including Blair Miller and Ed Strickler.

In February, a new ownership group, led by John Cook and Morgan Sample, purchased the club. Over the past several months, the group has invested time and resources to upgrade both the course and its facilities.

Things are certainly looking up at Huntingdon.

Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can be reached at gltr777@atlanticbb.net.

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