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Brooks Koepka's legacy is complicated

While winning a fifth major further cemented the 33-year-old's reputation among the game's greats, the fact he jumped to LIV Golf muddies the water for some readers of The First Call

LIV Golf Washington 2023
Brooks Koepka during the opening round of the LIV Golf Washington, held at Trump National Golf Club outside of Washington D.C.

Question of the week [May 22-28]: What does winning a third PGA Championship — and fifth major overall — do for Brooks Koepka's reputation?

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In the history of golf, only 20 players have won five majors. I think that sums up Brooks Koepka's place amongst the best that have ever played. He's still a young man and has proven he gets amped up for the big ones. I think he'll add to that number.  

Ken Venezio
Fort Worth, Texas

I think Brooks Koepka’s reputation as a golfer was definitely enhanced by his PGA Championship win. As pure golf goes, his results in the Masters and PGA is a great comeback story. Imagine if it had been Jordan Speith. As a person and athlete, I think Brooks may have gained a few fans and for those on the fence about him, may have swung a few more in his favor.

In his interviews pre-and post- Masters and PGA, plus in the Netflix series, at least he comes across genuine and honest, and didn’t mind owning up to taking the LIV money when he thought his career was over — knowing he couldn’t beat Scottie Scheffler, who "was out there shooting 63 every week."

And to my knowledge, at least he hasn’t bashed the PGA Tour or any other tour as many have. Yes, he took his money, but found is golf game and beat everyone else in the process, without giving anyone credit but himself.   

I sound like a big Brooks fan, which I’m really not, but you have to be honest and give him a little credit and his due from what he accomplished. 

Barry Duckworth
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Winning a fifth major demonstrates his tenacity and bulldog determination to overcome adversity and injury. He’s always been an excellent golfer, now perhaps he may be considered a great golfer. 

He has also, by winning the PGA, put to rest those pundits who allowed that a move to LIV — of which I am not fan — was leaving behind any thoughts of legacy in professional golf.

John Brewton
Johns Island, South Carolina

As far as I’m concerned, winning the PGA Championship did not change my opinion of Brooks Koepka. I don’t understand how any of the turncoats that left the PGA Tour to join LIV were even qualified to play in the tournament or any other PGA Tour tournament. They made their bed now let them lie in it.

Tom Spinelli
Navarre, Florida

A large portion of the answer to this question lies with two factions — the voice of public opinion and the World Golf Hall of Fame. The public has a divided sense based on Brooks' LIV agreement. But the WGHOF still has not answered the call to formulate a subjective formula for the minimum requirement for induction.

They continue to pursue the old-fashioned way, which is basically an old boys club. If they would address the situation with integrity instead of ego, then it would have been resolved a long time ago and players like Brooks Kopeka would get their just due.

Michael Schurman
Durham, Ontario

Given the continued vile and hate expressed by many in the previous week’s version of LIV bashing here, I’d suspect readers will similarly bash Brooks Koepka, even though he is proving himself to be one of the all-time great golfers. Period. Let’s respect that.

All this LIV bashing, Saudi hating, and ‘sports-washing’ talk is the result of a campaign by a monopolistic entity called the PGA Tour, and its proxies such as CBS and NBC. Brandel Chamblee’s response to Claude Harmon’s comments continues to reek of hypocrisy when he says “While Brooks Koepka’s win at the PGA Championship was impressive, it should not distract us from the simple fact that LIV players are being used for the benefit of some very bad people and to the detriment of a great many more good people."  

I’m old enough to have seen sport used in very similar fashion long before LIV came onto the scene, all being touted for bringing peace to the world, blah, blah, blah. USA vs. Russia chess masters in made-for-TV spectacles, U.S. vs. China ping pong, the Olympics in Russia and China — unabashedly hosted by Chamblee’s NBC, the World Cup in Qatar.  It’s always been and always will be about the money.

The golfers themselves — on both the PGA and LIV tours — seem to have realized it’s all about the money. And since the PGA Tour upped its money structure, the players on that tour seem to now understand that LIV forced changed to the PGA Tour, which they now benefit from — much larger purses and fewer events they have to play to make tons of money. Their words, which they won’t say publicly, should be "thanks Greg [Norman], thanks Phil [Mickelson], thanks DJ [Dustin Johnson], Brooks [Koepka], Sergio [Garcia], etc.”

I’m grateful that the bodies of the major tournaments have not been spiteful. They want the best golfers in the world at their events, not just the "best golfers in the world" as proclaimed by Jim Nantz and other promoters of the PGA Tour. I’m hopeful the Ryder Cup includes all the best golfers in the U.S. and Europe for their event.

Ron Ariana
Chicago, Illinois

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