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Brooks Koepka was seven when Tiger Woods won his first career major at the 1997 Masters. This week, the Wellington native and now Palm Beach Gardens resident got to compete in the first major of his career and had a final round that he will never forget.
Thanks to a third round 73 by Tiger, Koepka got to do more than just meet his childhood idol on Sunday, he got to play a round with him too. Koepka and Woods met for the first time on the putting green before their round started, talking about Woods’ membership at Medalist among other things (Koepka is currently playing out of Bear Lakes but is looking for a new club).
Woods got the better of Koepka on the day with the Jupiter Island resident shooting an even round 70 to Koepka’s 7-over 77. Despite the sub-par round on the course, it didn’t change how excited Brooks was about the whole experience of the day, a day he will relive for a long time.
"Obviously I didn't play the way I wanted to, but it was fun. Tiger's a good dude," Koepka said afterward while sounding slightly shell-shocked. "I had a little bit of adrenaline going. The ball wasn't flying the distances I thought it was. I don't know what to say. I hung in there on the back."
Despite both golfers teeing off early Sunday morning, and with little chance of winning the season’s final major, they both seemed to be in good spirits and enjoy each other’s company. The two chatted throughout the round, talking about a variety of different things, including the fact that the two live practically right down the road from one another. Woods said, among other things, he was impressed with the way Koepka handled himself on the course.
"Really talented, good kid," Woods said. "He's earned his way. He won three times [on the Challenge Tour] and now he's on the European Tour. It's good to see. Good, old fashioned work pays off and he should be proud of it.”
Kopepka hopes that he and Tiger can tee it up together soon at Medalist. More importantly though, the 23 year old hopes that this is just the beginning of a long, successful career in golf.