Brooks Koepka made official on Sunday in South Korea what a lot of people in the golf world implicitly knew for months now. With his third win of 2018 at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea, Koepka earned enough points to become the No. 1 player in the new Official World Golf Ranking on Monday.
Koepka, who won the US Open and PGA Championship as his other wins this calendar year, jumped from third in the ranking to the top spot, passing recent No. 1 Justin Rose and current No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who took over the top spot from Rose after the Tour Championship in Atlanta to conclude the 2017-2018 PGA Tour season.
For the Florida State product, getting to No. 1 has to be particularly rewarding considering the unconventional path he took. He left out for Europe's developmental circuit, then found his way back to the United States before dominating in three of the last seven majors.
"It's a battle every day, you've just got to keep working hard and trying to improve. I've done that. I enjoyed my time on the Challenge tour, the European Tour and being here on the PGA Tour," he said after the win. "To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid, and I don't think this one's going to sink in."
Koepka's ascent is also remarkable because he missed the first four months of 2018 to undergo and recover from hand surgery. After the procedure, he and his team were concerned he'd have to drastically overhaul his game and find a new way to play golf with perhaps a different style altogether. Fortunately, he was able to recover fully and emerge a better, more hungry player.
Winning is fun, and Koepka is champing at the bit to hoist another trophy perhaps next Sunday at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
"Everything I've done this year has been working, so I don't want to change anything, but just keep improving,
clean up the putting a little bit and the wedge play. Just keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "I'm having fun, I'm loving it and I can't wait to get back to it next week."