The Big LeadThe Big Lead

Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy Officially Have a Rivalry Now

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 25: Brooks Koepka of the United States congratulates Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 18th green after McIlroy won the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship during the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on August 25, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy edged out Brooks Koepka for the PGA Player of the Year award, which was a bit of a surprise. Try as people might to pit these upper echelon golfers against each other in a Tiger-Phil-like dichotomy, there appears to be a complete lack of interest on Koepka's part. Or so he says.

"I've been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour. So I just don't view it as a rivalry," Koepka told AFP ahead of his defence of the CJ Cup in Jeju, South Korea which begins on Thursday.

Oh, snap.

Koepka's comments are true. Since joining the Tour he's racked up the majors and is now currently tied with McIlroy with four. The smart money is on the American surpassing him in the very near future and perhaps building a comfortable lead in that department.

I can think of no better way to create a rivalry than saying there's not a rivalry. If this zinger doesn't light a fire under McIlroy's rear end, then nothing will. Candid golf talk comes a long so rarely that the media will latch onto it and ride it for dear life. And that's a good thing.

So, yeah. This is officially golf's biggest rivalry now. Methinks Koepka protests too much.