“I didn’t know when I was going to start this year and how many tournaments I was going to play, how well I was going to play,” Woods said. “I didn’t know what swing I was going to use either.”
“So I had to kind of figure this out on my own,” he added, “and it’s been really hard, it’s a lot harder than people think. And I’m just very pleased at what I’ve done so far.”
Koepka, the first player since Woods in 2000 to win the United States Open and P.G.A. Championship in the same year, had his own physical setback to overcome. At the end of last year, he sustained a wrist injury that kept him out of the Masters in April. The P.G.A. Championship was his 12th individual stroke-play start of the tour’s 2017-18 season.
“To think where I was four months ago, to come out here and play as well as I did, it’s really incredible,” Koepka said, adding, “I can’t even put into words how well I played, and I’m so excited for myself and my caddie and my team.”
With drives that averaged more than 324 yards on Sunday, Koepka overpowered the course in a way that left Woods slack-jawed. Of course, Woods has only himself to blame for golf’s millennial muscle men, led by Koepka. They have taken the fitness regimen that Woods brought to golf and super-sized it; Koepka spent 90 minutes at a local fitness center on Saturday and on Sunday, getting in weight and cardio workouts before hitting the course.
“I played with him in a practice round and he was literally hitting it 340, 350 in the air,” Woods said. “And when a guy’s doing that and hitting it straight and as good a putter as he is, it’s tough to beat.”
Woods’s caddie, Joe LaCava, interpreted Woods’s right uppercut after his final birdie as a sign that the invigorated Woods felt up to the challenge.
“He’s pretty pumped for himself,” said LaCava, who was on Woods’s bag during his five-victory season in 2013. “He’s getting there,” LaCava added. “He’s close.”