Speaking upon getting things going at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas, Koepka was asked about the importance of getting what amounts to MVP style awards in his trophy case. His answer? Not whatsoever so long as he is winning plenty of titles elsewhere.
Koepka used a pretty fitting basketball metaphor most folks will understand to explain what he was talking about.
“I don’t play for awards, I just play to win. Win trophies, win tournaments. Simple as. Yeah, it would have been great but everyone in this room knows. LeBron (James) has only won 4 MVP’s. I think he’s been the best player more than just four years,” Koepka said honestly.
Koepka certainly has a point. In 2019, he once again managed to add to his trophy case by running away from the field at the PGA Championship for a second straight year. He also added a win at the Fed-Ex St. Jude Invitational and was also rated the top player in the world golf rankings during the season. Koepka was also named PGA of America Player of the Year.
In spite of all that, Koepka was edged on the final PGA Tour Player of the Year ballot by McIlroy, who claimed three big wins on tour last season and looked solid in winning the TOUR Championship to close out the year. The vote is completed by peers from the tour.
As long as the talented Koepka keeps piling up the stats and wins like he has, there is no doubt more MVP awards will follow in the future. So far, Koepka has proven at just 29 that he is an elite golfer that is going to be on the scene for years. Thus far, he’s already claimed the first two legs of the career grand slam in winning the PGA Championship and U.S. Open twice. And recent finishes in other majors show he’s not that far off from likely taking one or both of those crowns, too.
This season, Koepka also had his best finish in The Open Championship play out, when he finished T4 at Royal Portrush. Similarly, he finished as a T2 at The Masters Tournament, coming in just one shot shy of Tiger Woods who took the title. Many on the outside believed that due to these elite finishes, Koepka had the better overall body of work than McIlroy.
The arrow is certainly pointing upward for Koepka in terms of his status as a PGA mainstay and a player who is going to continue to cash in on the big stage and always be in contention for the top awards the tour can offer, including their version of an MVP award.
That will remain true whether or not Koepka cares if he gets the accolades in the end or not.