FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – There was something historically fitting that Brooks Keopka would shatter the 36-hole scoring record at the PGA Championship playing alongside Tiger Woods.
This week’s front-runner, whose 128 total is two shots better than the previous 36-hole scoring mark, beat Woods by 17 shots through two days with the kind of dominating performance that Woods regularly produced in his prime.
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“Relative to the field, I was about that long, early in my career,” said Woods, who missed the cut. “When you’re able to hit the ball much further than other players and get on the right golf courses where setups like this are penalizing if you are a little bit crooked, it adds up to a big lead, and there’s no reason why he can’t increase this lead.”
Although Koepka is among the week’s longest at Bethpage Black, it’s been his iron play that most smacks of Tiger. Koepka ranks first in strokes gained: approach the green and second in proximity to the hole. It adds up to a brand of golf that seems familiar.
“I would say there are similarities the way he’s dominating the par 5s. He’s hitting this high 3-wood, and it’s coming down like a wedge on No. 13,” said Joe LaCava, Woods’ caddie. “He overpowers the long holes, like on No. 11. He hits driver down there and has nothing in. Same thing on 12. On 15, he’s got 8- or 9-iron, and he’s hitting it to 3 feet. Yes, it reminds me of the same deal.”