Byron Nelson, Peter Thomson, Seve Ballesteros … and now Brooks Koepka.
One year removed from making an unpopular decision to leave for the LIV Golf League and battling injuries that seemed to threaten his career, Koepka is again a major champion while climbing into another lofty level in the game with his fifth triumph among golf’s biggest four championships.
The 33-year-old Floridian made three straight birdies early in the final round on Sunday at Oak Hill, lost most of his cushion in the middle while battling with young Norwegian star Viktor Hovland, and then birdied the 16th hole while Hovland double bogeyed. With seven birdies on the day, Koepka shot three-under-par 67 to finish with a nine-under total.
He ultimately won by two shots over World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler, who charged with a 65 on the best day for scoring in sunny Rochester, N.Y., and Hovland, who closed with a birdie for 70.
Koepka becomes the 20th player in history to win at least five major championships. There are five others who have earned five, including Nelson, Thomson and Ballesteros.
"This is increeible," Koepka said in the immediate aftermath. "This is wild. I look back to where were were two years ago, everything that's gone on. I’m just so happy right now."
Of being the company of those who have won five or more majors, Koepka said, "is, honestly, incredible. I'll be honest; I;m not sure I dreamed of it as a kid. I'm just happy to do it in front of these New York fans."
Indeed, this was Koepka's third major victory in the state, following his 2018 U.S. Open triumph at Shinnecock Hills and 2019 PGA win at Bethpage Black.
(Scroll down for live updates)
Beyond the winner, Sunday will be remembered for the incredible performance of Southern California teaching pro Michael Block. Paired with Rory McIlroy, the 46-year-old Block created the single-biggest moment of the tournament when he scored a slam-dunk hole-in-one at the 15th. With the sunshine making the shot tough to follow, Block looked in disbelief when he was hugged my McIlroy and told that the ball went in on the fly.
Block said he’d never made a hole-in-one in competition in his life.
“To make it at that time, on hole 15 with the crowd … was probably the most surreal moment in my life,” Block said to CBS.
“It’s not going to get better than this,” Block said later. “No chance in hell.”
Still, Block needed to par in for his last three holes to finish in a tie for at least 15th and earn a return trip to next year’s PGA at Valhalla. He pulled it off, including an impressive up-and-down at the 18th hole to score 71 and tied for 15th at one over for the tournament.
PGA Championship 2023 live updates:
7:33 p.m. — It's official. With a par at the last, Brooks Koepka is the 2023 PGA Champiponship winner at Oak Hill. He closed with a 67 to beat Viktor Hovland (who birdied the last for 70) and Scottie Scheffler (65) by two shots. Koepka becomes the 20th player to have at least five major titles.
6:23 p.m. — The lead is down to two over Scheffler (who birdied 18) as Koepka goes to 18 after he made bogey at 17 by missing right in the trees and laying up. And he just drilled it onto the right side of the fairay. No way he makes double from there.
6:10 p.m. — This seems all but over now, with Hovland dropping to six under by making double bogey after his plugged second shot from a fairway bunker and Koepka hitting a brilliant approach to make birdie.
6:05 p.m. — Michael Block's incredible week ended, well, incredibly. Needing a par on the 18th hole to finish inside the top 15 and earn an exemption to next year's PGA, Block made an impressive up and down on the last hole, causing the second biggest roar of the day—following his ace from earlier. This is now sure to be remembered as the Brooks & Block PGA.
5:47 p.m. — Our leaders produced way less excitement at the par-3 15th here with a couple of ho-hum, two-putt pars. Koepka (-9) and Hovland (-8) enter the difficult three-hole closing stretch looking like the winner will come out of this group, with Scheffler's birdie putt at 16 coming up wide left.
5:39 p.m. — Just a couple routine-looking birdies at the 14th hole for Koepka and Hovland. The Norweigan chopped it out to seven feet and holes the birdie putt, and Koepka gave his eagle bid a good chance, but it rolled about 3 feet by. He holes the come-backer for birdie to maintain the one-shot lead (-9) over Hovland.
5:34 p.m. — Alpha stuff from Brooks Koepka at the short par-4 14th. He hits driver perfectly up onto the surface before it rolls just into the fringe. He's going to have a chance for eagle—and Hovland is in fine shape, hitting his tee shot into the rough at the front of the green. The 25-year-old's short game has looked really impressive all week ... we'll see what he comes up with here.
5:24 p.m. — How clutch was that from Koepka? He drips his seven-footer for par from above the hole to keep his one-stroke lead over Viktor Hovland, who nailed his birdie putt at the 13th hole.
5:17 p.m. — The chaos after the Michael Block just made the broadcast miss the second shots of Koepka and Hovland on the 13th hole. That's the gravity of what we just saw from the club pro ... we missed shots from the leaders! Koepka just made a pretty crucial mistake missing the green with his third shot at the par 5 ... his approach coming off the green. Oh boy ... and Koepka just used putter for his fourth and that went a good seven feet past the hole. That'll be slick coming down the hill for his par.
Also lost in the craziness of the Block party was Scheffler nearly holing his bunker shot on the short par-4 14th hole ... that would have got him to one back! It's still another birdie on this back nine for Scheffler, who is now just two back.
5:12 p.m. — You can't make it up folks. Michael Block has had the week that every PGA professional dreams about ... playing into one of the final groups at Oak Hill. Somehow, his week just got better. He hadn't made a birdie all day on Sunday, but he just aced the par-3 15th hole! ARE YOU KIDDING?! Literal goosebumps. This guy is an absolute rockstar. And he gets to dap up Rory McIlroy after making the hole-in-one ... GOODNESS!
5:06 p.m. — What a crucial moment this feels like. Koepka hated his approach to the 12th green, thinking it was about to come up short in the bunker ... but it just cleared and left him on the fringe. Then Koepka nails the 15-or-so footer to get back to 8-under—extending the lead to two.
Scheffler hit a fantastic third shot on 13 to about four feet and converts the birdie to get to 5-under ... so he's lurking and just three back. A birdie at the short par-4 14th would firmly put him in the mix...
4:55 p.m. — That was almost an unbelievable par from Brooks Koepka. With that fried-egg lie near the lip of the bunker, he somehow splashed it out to 13 feet ... but his par putt just slides by. Hovland fails to convert on his birdie putt, so Koepka will preserve a one-shot lead for the moment. Scheffler's playing the par-5 13th hole right now, and it feels like he absolutely needs a birdie to have a chance.
4:48 p.m. — Oh boy ... we are the jinx! Right as we typed that this looked like a two-horse race, Koepka's tee shot at the par-3 11th has ended up at the very front of the green with a fried egg lie. That's a really bad break (also a poor shot) ... but he's going to have his work cut out for him here. And Hovland hit a solid shot to the middle of the green, so this lead looks like it will be trimmed again shortly.
4:43 p.m. — The lead is back to two shots for Brooks Koepka. What a timely birdie for the four-time major champion—who had been 2-over since the fourth hole. That was peak Koepka right there—he went right at it from 140 yards out and nailed the 8-footer.
Hovland raced his 20-footer about 5 feet past the hole but made a good comebacker to remain two back. It's now looking more like a two-horse race with Koepka putting his foot back on the gas.
4:30 p.m. — Koepka got very fortunate with his lie in the left rough—his tee shot was so far left that it found some trampled down grass where the spectators have been standing. He's able to advance it just onto the green and navigates the two-putt to take his one-shot lead (-7) over Viktor Hovland to the back nine. Scheffler, who just birdied 10 after the bogey on 9, and Bryson are both three back.
4:20 p.m. — Things are getting interesting. After pars for Koepka and Hovland at the eighth, Koepka (-7) pull-hooked his drive on the ninth hole into the thick rough on the left. That'll make the approach to this elevated green quite difficult. Hovland's in good shape, but if Koepka wants to preserve his lead heading into the back nine—he'll have his work cut out.
If Koepka drops one here, that brings a lot of people into this on the back nine. Bryson's at -4, Rose, Scheffler, Conners, Straka and Kitayama are at -3. We might have an exciting back nine, sort of unexpectedly.
4:07 p.m. — Bryson DeChambeau isn't going away. He's just birdied the gettable eighth hole to get to 1-under on his round and just three back of Brooks Koepka's lead. Scottie Scheffler had just birdied 7 and 8 and stood within three of Koepka, but he found the thick rough at No. 9 and failed to convert on a 9-footer for par, so he drops back to 3-under, which is now four back.
4:02 p.m. — It's no shame to bogey the ultra-difficult sixth and seventh at Oak Hill, which is what Brooks Koepka just did. This one will sting for Koepka, though, after a great tee shot up the right side of the fairway ... but our leader found a really tough lie in the greenside bunker. Koepka left his third shot about 35 feet shy ... so that'll lead to his second straight bogey.
Viktor Hovland follows Koepka with a bogey, remaining one back. Hovland found the thick rough on the right off the tee and elected to lay up short of Allen's Creek with his second. He couldn't get up and down, and that'll move him back to 6-under, one back of Koepka.
As CBS' Trevor Immelman just pointed out regarding Koepka, if you had told him he'd play his first seven holes in 1-under par, you'd imagine he'd take it. It probably won't feel like it after the trouble at 6 and the bogey at 7, but he's still in the driver's seat. Though it felt like he might've been running away with it just 30 minutes ago...
3:49 p.m. — Ruh Roh. What seemed like a potential blowout less than half an hour ago is now a legit ball game as Koepka’s tee ball at the diabolical sixth hole finds the junk. After a lengthy debate as to where the ball crossed the red line, Koepka drops and goes on to make bogey. Hovland makes par to reduce the cushion to one and now those at four and three under are back in it as well. That said, first-round leader Bryson DeChambeau at four under shouldn’t be all that optimisti. In the last 17 PGA’s the first-round leader has gone on to win just twice, with Jimmy Walker in 2015 and Brooks Koepka in 2019 the only ones to pull it off.
3:31 p.m. — As Viktor Hovland stands over a lengthy birdie putt, CBS’s Dottie Pepper says, “He needs a touch more pace on his putts. Just half a roll.” The Norwegian then proceeds to follow instructions, his ball reaching for the lip of the cup before stretching half a roll into it to get within two of Koepka.
3:20 p.m. — Talking with Jon Rahm about club professional Michael Block’s play, CBS’ Amanda Renner notes that Block only hits about one bucket of balls a week. Rahm responds incredulously, “God, how much is he beating me by?”
2:53 p.m. — Brooks Koepka stakes his approach at the par-4 second and rolls in the birdie putt to stretch his lead to two. Should he win he will join some heady company of players with three or more PGA Championship wins. The only others are Jack Nicklaus (5); Walter Hagen (5); Tiger Woods (4); Gene Sarazen (3); Sam Snead (3). When talking about playing for history, this is what it looks like.
2:39 p.m. — Victor Perez makes it four birdies in a row and goes from one over par to 3 under and tied for fourth. Perez’s play is emblematic of the fact that even on a difficult course, soft conditions are like raw meat to tour professionals, who have their distances on approach shots very much dialed in.
2:21 p.m. — Trevor Immelman says he was texting with Mike Weir—the only Canadian golfer to win a men’s major at the 2003 Masters—and Weir said he would be glued to the TV today, watching fellow Canadian Corey Conners. Ironically, Conners didn’t return the favor when Weir won, telling the Masters Journal this year that as an 11-year-old he couldn’t bear to watch Weir’s putt to force a playoff. “When Mike had a six-foot par putt on the final hole to force the playoff, I ran out of the living room,” Conners said. “I couldn’t bear to watch it. I was sitting on the staircase and heard my dad let out a loud cheer. I was so relieved. I told Mike that story years later and he got a good laugh out of it.”
2:02 p.m. — And the crowd goes wild! PGA professional Michael Block receives a folk heroes welcome as he introduced on the first tee. Jim Nantz comments on CBS that it is the loudest applause on the first tee all week. Less than 10 minutes later, playing companion Rory McIlroy gets the ovation as he stiffs his approach shot at the first—just the kind of start he needed.
1:53 p.m. — The middle of the course remains a formidable test. After starting out hot throught he first six holes, both Cam Smith and Chez Reavie have cooled off a bit, Smith with a bogey at the seventh—that he was a bit lucky wasn't worse—and Reavie with four straight pars and a bogey on 10. That's not "bad" by any stretch, but it may show us that if the pack chasing Koepka is going to go get him, it might have to happen early.
1:17 p.m. — Much has been made of the changes to Oak Hill before this championship. The course was re-routed, trees were removed, greens were reshaped. To highlight the work that was done, architect Andrew Green tweeted this morning that eight of the first nine hole locations are in "'new' or expanded green space."
12:49 p.m. — They're each (probably) a bit too far back to make a move, but Chez Reavie is three under through six and Cam Smith is two under through three. They started the day out of the mix, but with the weather cooperating, it is clear the course is much more getable than it has previously played this week. Good news for those chasing Koepka later this afternoon. Also good news for Koepka, who posted consecutive 66s in subpar scoring conditions anyway, and could just run away with this thing.
12:19 p.m. — The last two PGA Championship winners have completed their tournament. Phil Mickelson closed his week at Oak Hill, while Justin Thomas closed with a par. If Brooks Koepka closes this thing out later this evening, we may see Mickelson again on the 18th green for some LIV Golf fraternizing.
Another subplot here, Mickelson's longtime caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay is now on the bag for Justin Thomas. Such has been the case for years now, but this is the first time they've been paired together in a major since Mickelson went scorched earth on the PGA Tour and aligned himself with LIV Golf. This is how the two said goodbye after the round:
11:52 a.m. — Other notables making an early, mini charge include Adam Scott, who just made his third birdie of the day at the par-4 eighth to climb to three over for the championship. He's tied for 20th along with Schauffele and a host of others who have yet to tee off. In the pack right behind them at four over is a group that includes Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm, both two under early in their rounds.
11:44 a.m. — Here comes Xander! A birdie-birdie start gets Schauffele to three over, nine off the lead but inside the top 20, where he lives at major championships. It's becoming clear that the first few holes are providing an opportunity for guys to get off to hot starts, which should produce some interesting jockeying later this afternoon.
11:10 a.m. — What a difference a day makes. After monsoon-like conditions had everyone wondering why they played the PGA in Rochester in May on Saturday, Sunday has turned into a top-10 day. Temperatures are in the mid-60s as we type and they could get as high as 73 in the afternoon. There is some wind expected, which is just how it should be on Sunday at a major, but these players will trade breezy conditions for sopping wet ones any day of the week.
While most on the course have no chance of winning the tournament, it's worth pointing out that there are some birdies to be had. Surprise, surprise, Jon Rahm has made back-to-back to begin his final round, jumping 15 spots on the leader board in the process (T-42 to T-27). At four over, he's 10 back. Last year's surprise story, Mito Pereira, is also at four over after making birdie at No. 1. The best round on the course belongs to Adrian Meronk, who is three under through 10 holes, putting him at five over, T-36.
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