(CNN)Bulletproof, immovable, and playing a different game to the rest, Brooks Koepka is doing a better impression of Tiger Woods than Tiger Woods.
Despite the Black course’s fearsome reputation, Koepka’s 36-hole score of 128 is a major championship record, his halfway lead is the largest in PGA Championship history, and he bettered the Masters champion by 17 shots as Woods missed the cut.
Even then, Keopka insists he was “battling” his swing a bit.
“Today’s a new day, doesn’t matter what you did yesterday,” the defending champion, who has won three of his last seven majors, told Sky Sports.
“I’m very pleased. It’s a tough golf course, you’ve really got to battle and I’m proud of the way I hung in there.
“It’s something I’ve battled my entire life so it should be an easy fix.”
While Woods’ 15th major title had many misty-eyed for his domineering heyday, Koepka is showing why he is now the most imperious player in major golf with an explosive marriage of power, finesse and ice-cool emotions. Koepka, who was tied second at Augusta, credits his ability to stay on an even keel as one of his best attributes.
“It’s massive,” he added. “I don’t think people realize how difficult it is and how you have to let things roll off your back, laugh about it and move on. It tests your patience, for sure.”
The Floridian was bogey-free through 27 holes on Long Island, and despite two bogeys coming home Friday he kicked on to leave the field trailing in his muscular wake.
A distant sight in Koepka’s rearview mirror was a rejuvenated Jordan Spieth at the front of the chasing pack with a four-under 66 to show signs of a rosier future after enduring a slump of late. Spieth needs just the US PGA to become only the sixth player to clinch the career Grand Slam of all four major titles and a first win since the 2017 Open.
Alongside Spieth on five under was 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, whose blistering surge to six under for the day after 14 holes put him in with a shout of beating the major record of 62 before he faltered towards the end to card 64.
And what of Woods himself? Overshadowed in performance — if not fan adoration and volume level — by playing partner Koepka, he looked out-of-sorts compared with that magical Masters triumph on his last outing.
The 43-year-old, who only played nine holes in practice, hit only three fairways off the tee Friday, and was unable to build any kind of momentum despite constant urgings from the boisterous New York crowd.
Needing a birdie up the last to make the cut at four over, his approach was wayward and he was unable to chip in from the fringe, adding a 73 to his opening 72 to finish five over to miss the cut by one.
Should he go on to win, Koepka’s superiority would be somewhat reminiscent of Woods’ stretch from 2000-2002 when he won six of nine majors, starting with the US Open by a record 15 shots having led by six at halfway at Pebble Beach — incidentally the venue for this year’ US Open in June.
Or from 2005-2008 when he won six of 14 and was no worse than fourth six other times.
“What Brooksy did, he’s driving it 330 yards in the middle of the fairway,” added Woods. “He’s got 9-irons when most of us are hitting 5-irons, 4-irons, and he’s putting well. That adds up to a pretty substantial lead, and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, there’s no reason why he can’t build on this lead.”
Koepka has been vocal in the past about not receiving enough recognition, but he admits he uses any perceived slights as fuel.
Rocket fuel, it would seem, as he becomes increasingly box-office viewing.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, put the pedal down and try to build a bigger lead,” said Koepka.
Clipmagix AGENCY Edition: Your Clipmagix Agency With Commercial, Developer, Outsourcer and Virtual Assistant License. Sell Clipmagix AND Clipmagix Effects To ANY MP4 Videos For 100% Profits. Includes INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS. LOWEST Price TODAY Ever. Rises To $