JERSEY CITY – The PGA Tour, together with the good folks at the Aon professional services firm, left a $1M bag of money scattered around on the toughest golf courses each week of the tour’s long season, hiding it deep in the cup on only the hardest holes in golf. Today, the world’s No. 1 golfer picked up that cool $1-million along with a glass trophy nearly the size of Rory McIlroy and enjoyed some good-natured trash-talking to some of his friends on the Tour.
Koepka won the inaugural Aon Risk/Reward Challenge after scoring the best amongst his peers on specially designated holes at each tournament all season long. Each week, the players who scored best (twice out of a potential four rounds of play on the special Aon holes) gained points towards the $1M prize.
At the awards presentation, held today at the Northern Trust event, the first round of the Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs, Koepka noted that a number of the players had their eyes on the prize and he thought his chances were done when the tour worked its way through Cromwell, Connecticut at The Travelers.
“On the 15th hole (at The Travelers Hartford, Connecticut), I’d been told where I stood, and you try not to think about it when you step up to the hole, but when the ball goes in the water, the next thing you know, you’ve made a couple of bogeys and you think to yourself, ‘I really blew this and its exciting and disappointing at the same time.'”
“I hung in there and at the 3M (Twin Cities/Blaine, Minnesota), to make an Eagle there when some made triple of double on the hole. Then, all of a sudden, you are by yourself and I was kidding D.J. (Dustin Johnson) about missing a four-footer.”
Koepka also noted “it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the girls,” as the program is also in play on the LPGA Tour with the season finale not coming until the CME Group Tour Championship in November.
“It does add to the excitement all year and it shows consistency all year, and it will be fun to watch the girls battle it out down the stretch.”
As Koepka tees-it-up this week against the best 121 pro golfers of 2019 (125 qualified but four are not competing), he thrives on the competitive nature of the tour, but frowns upon the slow play plaguing the game week-to-week.
“I just love the competition,” he said. “I always say to people, ‘think back to when I’m five years old and wanted to be the best player in the world. You wanted to be – I wanted to be Adam Scott and Tiger Woods and all these guys – right? When I thought about it, all I wanted to be was the best player in the world. When I was 10, I never thought about, ‘Oh, it’s going to come with millions of dollars and all these great things and fame.’
“The competition is what I’m there for and I enjoy that. That’s what I thrive off of and the rest of the stuff just happens to come with it.”
“That’s nice, though,” he was asked?
“Yeah, it is.”