By Tom Ackerman
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — It’s amazing to say Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked golfer, is an afterthought, but such is life when the winners of the past four majors (Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods) are grouped together on Thursday and Friday for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Koepka has won two of the last four majors -- the 2018 U.S Open (his second in a row) and PGA Championship. Molinari, the 2018 British Open champion, and Koepka put the heat on Woods down the stretch in Augusta.
That's where Woods won the Masters, his 15th major, in April, and the golf world hasn’t settled down since. He drew a packed house in the PGA Media Center on Tuesday, answering 30 minutes of questions from reporters, one of them wondering if Koepka resembled a young Tiger. (Woods dismissed it, saying he weighed about 130 pounds at Koepka’s age.)
Koepka fielded inquiries such as if Woods was now his rival.
“It’s just golf,” Koepka replied.
Koepka was asked why he doesn’t fear Woods.
“He’s not going to knock my teeth in,”
Koepka responded. “He’s not going to hurt me. What’s there to be afraid of?”
Meanwhile, Johnson, in search of his second major, was hitting bombs off the tee in a practice round at Bethpage Black. He used precise irons to set up makeable putts.
Johnson stepped off the 18th green, signed some autographs and agreed to walk the players’ bridge with me to discuss Bethpage and his love for New Yorkers. And he hopes to hold their love all weekend.