Brooks Koepka has dismissed talk of a rivalry between he and Rory McIlroy by aiming a little bit of a dig in the direction of the Northern Irishman.
Speaking to AFP ahead of his defence of The CJ Cup in South Korea, world No.1 Koepka poured cold water on suggestions that he and current world No.2 McIlroy are on the brink of launching golf’s latest big rivalry.
"I've been out here for what, five years?” said the American. “Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour. So I don't view it as a rivalry.”
Both players are locked on four major wins apiece but the most recent of 30-year-old McIlroy’s came in the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Koepka, meanwhile, has won four of the last 11 majors, stretching back to the 2017 US Open. In that same time-span, he also has a pair of runner-up finishes and two more top-six results.
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McIlroy stoked the fires of a simmering rivalry between the two by saying that he used comments attributed to Koepka to catapult him to victory in the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship last month.
"He talked about trying to be the dominant player in the game,” said McIlroy. “I thought: 'He's going to have to go through me first'.
“If that's both of our mentalities going forward, I think that's good for the game.”
Winning the Tour Championship and, with it, the FedEx Cup helped Rory pip Brooks to the PGA Tour’s peer-voted ‘Player of the Year’ award.
In response, Koepka drew parallels between himself and basketball icon LeBron James, saying: “LeBron has only won 4 MVPs, and I'm pretty sure he's been the best player for more than just four years.”
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Elaborating on his thoughts to AFP, Koepka said: "I'm number one in the world. I've got open road in front of me I'm not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don't see it as a rivalry.
"If the fans call it a rivalry, then that's on them and it could be fun.
" I love Rory. He's a great player and he's fun to watch. But it's just hard to believe there's a rivalry in golf. I just don't see it."