Brooks Koepka has been the best golfer in the world for the last two years and there is no denying it.

According to the official world golf rankings, he is the best. Judged on major wins in that period, he is the best. And in the opinions of many of his fellow professionals, he is the best.

Yet despite all that, Koepka still often gets overlooked.

On American television network Fox, there is a commercial for this year's U.S. Open and he is not even included in it, despite the fact he is the two-time defending champion following victories in 2017 and 2018.

His rivals may not appreciate that snub, as Koepka clearly thrives on proving people wrong, including himself.

"You've always got to find something to give you a little bit of extra motivation. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious," Koepka said on Tuesday in a pre-tournament news conference.

"You go back - there's a commercial now where I'm not even in it, and Fox put it up for a preview of the U.S. Open. So I don't know. You guys tell me. I wasn't on 'notables' after winning. There's a couple of things where it's just mind boggling how - it's like, really? Like, how do you forget that?"

Asked for his reaction to seeing the commercial, Koepka added: "I actually didn't see it for a long time. A bunch of people on Twitter, I think, tagged me in it, in the promo. And I guess [they] were amazed that I wasn't in it.

"I just clicked on the link and saw it and watched it. Just kind of shocked. They've had over a year to kind of put it out. So I don't know."

Koepka then prompted laughter by adding: "Somebody probably got fired over it or should."

The four-time major winner continued: "You've always got to find something to give you a little bit of extra motivation.

"There's other things where I just find - I just tell myself I can't do it. I can't do it. And I just want to prove myself wrong."

Koepka will play the first two rounds at Pebble Beach alongside Francesco Molinari and Viktor Hovland.

Jordan Spieth says the success of Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy is a "driving factor" as he looks to match their haul of major wins at this week's U.S. Open.

The picturesque Pebble Beach Golf Links will play host to the year's third major, with two-time defending champion Koepka set to start as favourite after he won last month's US PGA Championship to claim his fourth major title inside two years.

McIlroy, who stormed to victory at the Canadian Open on Sunday courtesy of a final-round 61, also has four of golf's biggest stroke play prizes to his name while Spieth has three, having followed up Masters and U.S. Open triumphs in 2015 with a victory in the 2017 Open Championship.

Speaking ahead of this week's tournament, Spieth told reporters: "To be honest, when I look at what I'm doing, it's hard to compare that to a different generation. And say like Tiger [Woods, a 15-time major champion], I don't compare myself to him. But it's a little easier to compare yourself to people within five or six years on either side of yourself.

"Because it's almost unrealistic to compare yourself to Jack [Nicklaus, who has 18 majors] or Tiger. Obviously that's the end goal. But it's very difficult to look at the short term with just how incredible their achievements have been.

"So watching Brooks and Rory, these guys who have four major championships prior to being 30 years old and looking like they're just going to continue to do so, it's certainly a driving factor for me.

"There's also a number of under-30 guys who are going to win a number of majors over the coming years, [that] is certainly what it looks like.

"So there's plenty of inspiration to be the one that's trying to win these championships. And I have no trouble, personally, finding that inspiration, nor would I even if the 30 to 40 year olds are winning. This is our Super Bowl.

"At the beginning of the year this is what we look at and we pinpoint and we try and peak at. "[There is] no need for any extra inspiration. I think there's plenty there."

Yes, Brooks Koepka says, the name has come up over the last 12 months: Willie Anderson.

And Koepka this week will surely hear it more frequently, especially if he is in the running to win a third consecutive U.S. Open.

Anderson is the only man to accomplish that feat.

Curtis Strange? He probably heard Anderson's name a time or three in 1990, after winning back-to-back U.S. Opens in '88 and '89.

So who was Anderson?

He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975 and their description of him begins as follows:

"Willie Anderson's place in U.S. Open history belongs on the same pantheon as Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. He was the first to win four U.S. Open Championships and the only golfer in history to win three in succession. The sad part of Anderson's biography is that he died at the age of 31. Since his death in 1910, only five golfers - including Hogan (1950, 1951) and Curtis Strange (1988, 1989) - have won two consecutive U.S. Opens, and only Hogan has come close to winning four out of five years, as Anderson did in 1901, 1903, 1904 and 1905."

There is a lot to unpack there, not least the fact Koepka has now matched Hogan and Strange with consecutive U.S. Open wins, in 2017 at Erin Hills and 2018 at Shinnecock Hills.

What is the bottom line on Anderson?

"He was a really good player," Baltusrol Golf Club historian Stuart Wolffe said, via the New York Post.

A Scottish immigrant, Anderson also carried himself in a way Koepka might recognise, described by historians as a player with "effortless power" and a "rhythmical" putting stroke.

Ah, but even more Koepka-esque: Anderson had "an unflappable demeanour".

"You couldn't tell whether he was winning or losing by looking at him," said Fred McLeod, the 1908 U.S. Open champion.

"To think of nothing but golf while engaged in playing golf," Anderson said, "is the secret to success."

His singular approach worked.

Anderson, who died in 1910, was one of the top players of his time, winning four Western Opens — perceived as a major in the early 1900s — to go along with his four U.S. Opens.

He won the 1901 U.S. Open at Myopia Hunt Club, near Boston, in the first 18-hole play-off in the event's young history. After a fifth-place finish in 1902, he won the 1903 U.S. Open played at Baltusrol in Springfield, New Jersey, again in a play-off.

No play-off was necessary in 1904, when Anderson finished five shots clear of the competition at Glen View in Chicago. He completed his three-peat the next year, again at Myopia Hunt Club, rallying from a five-shot deficit in the final round for a two-stroke victory in 1905.

The U.S. Open, perceived at the time as something shy of the U.S. Amateur, was noteworthy.

"It was an open tournament to amateurs and pros and featured a lot of really good players," Wolffe, the Baltusrol historian said. "Anderson was one of the best."

Clearly.

"How good was Willie Anderson?" wrote Robert Sommers in the USGA Golf Journal (via the World Golf Hall of Fame). "Those who played against him and watched the great players of later years said he was as good as anyone who ever played.”

So - as Koepka tees it up this week at Pebble Beach, trying to become the second man to win three straight U.S. Opens - now you know who Willie Anderson was.

What no one knows is exactly what caused Anderson’s death, four years after his last U.S. Open triumph in his early 30s.

Some reports say he had epilepsy, which might have contributed. Maybe it was a brain tumour, others speculated, or hardening of the arteries. Some whispered that he drank himself to death.

Whatever the reason, his early death left fellow competitors to muse about what might have been.

Alex Smith, a fellow Scotsman who finished second to Anderson in two U.S. Opens, believed that "most likely, had he lived longer, Willie would've set a record for (U.S.) Open championships that would never be beaten."

Rickie Fowler has never won a major but the American is not worried as he tries to claim a breakthrough victory at the U.S. Open.

Fowler is a five-time PGA Tour champion however, he is still searching for his maiden major title.

The 30-year-old has been a runner-up at the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open, while he finished third at the 2014 US PGA Championship.

Fowler, though, is not dwelling on his drought ahead of Thursday's opening round at Pebble Beach.

"Obviously there's a lot of great players that haven't won a major," Fowler said. "It's not necessarily something I think about or worry about. I know that when the time is right, it's going to happen.

"If I don't win a major, that's not going to necessarily define me. Do I want to win a major? Yes. I would love to and then knock off some more after that. But it's not going to define who I am."

Fowler was tied for second at the 2014 US Open in North Carolina, however, this year's tournament will be held at the famed Pebble Beach in California.

"To me I look at Pebble as not necessarily a place that the more you play it you have an advantage, necessarily," Fowler told reporters. "It's a pretty straightforward golf course. There's only a couple of tee shots that are somewhat blind that you need to just make sure that you're comfortable on lines. It's pretty much right in front of you. Very small greens.

"So, I love that about it. It's not very tricky. You hit it in a lot of the middle of the greens here, and you're going to be in a good position. … But how could you not like this place and get good vibes, especially the last couple of days with the weather we've had and just makes you feel good. It's a beautiful place."

Justin Thomas, meanwhile, will be coming off a 20th-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open last week as he eyes a second major crown.

Thomas won the US PGA in 2017 and he was tied for 12th at the Masters in April.

"My game right now, it's pretty good. It's obviously not exactly where I'd like it to be," Thomas said. "I felt like last week … we did better. I rolled the ball great last week, I just didn't make anything.

"I really do love U.S. Opens, I love the test, the grind. They just have a different feel to them, like all the majors do. And I'm excited to go out there and check it out because when you get weather like this at Pebble Beach, it's got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It's going to be a fun week."

Pebble Beach has some of the most beautiful views in golf, with it being nestled against the coastline and having open views of the Pacific Ocean.

But the scenic views come at a cost.

This course, which will host the U.S. Open this week, has some extremely challenging holes, with the weather capable of changing the dynamic of them in an instant. 

"Pebble Beach is a course that you play once and you remember each hole forever," Rafa Cabrera-Bello said last year. "Every single hole is different from the previous one."

There are five holes that will most test the golfers. It starts on the front nine with the second hole, which demands distance and accuracy. Then the stretch of eight, nine and 10 can be just as challenging as Augusta National's Amen Corner, but that is far from the only test.
 

Hole two

This hole rotates between a par four and a par five, but has served as a long, tough par four at the past two U.S. Opens. That again will be the case this time around, and golfers will have to navigate a narrow fairway that is, at the most, 30 yards wide.

They will want to drive it as far as possible, as it is the second-longest par four on the course at 516 yards. But it is more than just the distance that will make or break golfers on this hole, as there are bunkers that line the fairway and a moat-like sand-trap guarding the green.
 

Holes eight to 10

These three holes deserve a stand-alone nickname, and that is the reason they are grouped together.

The late famed golf writer Dan Jenkins dubbed this stretch "Abalone Corner". 

At first, it is one of if not the most beautiful views in golf.

The par-four eighth starts just past Stillwater Cove, a public beach inside the private community of Pebble and sits at the top of a 100-foot cliff. It is not the slight dog leg that has proved the most challenging, but rather the second shot, as Tiger Woods explained.

Woods, the three-time U.S. Open winner who won by 15 shots at this major in 2000 at Pebble Beach, said it is the toughest second shot in golf.

"You don't know whether to say 'get up' or 'get down,'" he said in 2000. "It's just up there forever. If you can walk away from there with four every day, boy, you're going to pick up a couple shots on the field."

If golfers can make it unscathed through eight, they next face nine, which has one of the smallest greens on a course that is dotted with tiny putting surfaces. But that is after a fairway that slopes down toward the water.

The awkward side-hill lie on the 10th hole can also prove the undoing of many. It is the last stretch along the bay and has the widest fairway on the course, but players will have to commit to their shots and try to avoid the bunkers on the left.
 

Hole 14

This cruel par five is a three-shot hole for most players. But do not expect many drivers, as hitting the ball too far on this hole will send golfers into the USGA's punitive rough.

It is the third shot that often proves the toughest.

The entire hole is uphill, which increases the effective distance by almost 30 yards, from 573 to what feels like 600 yards, and because of this elevation, the green tilts up. It will leave golfers with a blind shot to the green between two yawning bunkers.

If players make it through to Sunday and then, if leading, through those five holes relatively unscathed, then that leaves four holes to navigate as the tension of trying to win a major increases.

Translation: You cannot win the U.S. Open on these five gruelling holes, but you sure can lose it.

Tiger Woods is the favourite to win this week's U.S. Open, according to Jack Nicklaus.

Golf's third major of the year begins at Pebble Beach on Thursday, with Woods among the top contenders after winning the Masters in April, ending an 11-year major drought to claim his 15th.

Victory for the 43-year-old would see him tie Nicklaus and three other players on a record four U.S. Open crowns.

He is now only three overall majors adrift of Nicklaus, who thinks the gap could become two at the venue where Woods won the same tournament by 15 strokes back in 2000. 

"I would think Tiger [Woods]," Nicklaus told Sky Sports when asked who was the favourite this week.

"Tiger won there by a million the last time he won and he grew up around that area.

"He is smart, so knows how to play there, so I think Tiger will play well.

"But a lot of the guys are playing well too, so it will be a good tournament."

Nicklaus warned all the players they would have to be on guard at a course where you can quickly find yourself in trouble, as Brooks Koepka looks to defend his 2018 title and add to his US PGA Championship won last month.

"Pebble is not a long golf course," added Nicklaus. "Length is not the big issue there, the issue is being smart and not putting yourself in a position where [you can have] a double-bogey - it happens real quickly at Pebble Beach.

"You have to put yourself in a position to take advantage of a hole when you can. 

"The greens are tough to make putts on, but the guys have played a lot there and understand a little bit about what goes on there.

"If I had one round of golf to play that that's where I've always said that where I would want to go, so obviously I love Pebble Beach too. I won the Amateur there and quite a few other things, so it has had a special place in my heart."

Woods finished in a tie for ninth at the Memorial Tournament in his last outing a week ago.

Rory McIlroy is rooting for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.

McIlroy raised the jersey of Toronto guard Kyle Lowry after winning the Canadian Open on Sunday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario.

The Raptors enter Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors one win away from their first championship in franchise history.

"It's really cool. I've had such a great week here in Canada," McIlroy told CBS Sports after the tournament.

"The people couldn't have been nicer, more welcoming. It helped I was cheering for the Raptors … Obviously, I hope they get it done on Monday. It's been an awesome week."

The Raptors later congratulated McIlroy on Twitter.

McIlroy shot a phenomenal nine-under 61 in the final round of the Canadian Open on Sunday. He was 22 under overall for the tournament and won by seven strokes.

Toronto, meanwhile, took a 3-1 series lead over Golden State with a 105-92 road win on Friday.

Game 5 is at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.

Rory McIlroy hit top form ahead of the U.S. Open, carding a phenomenal nine-under 61 to cruise to victory at the Canadian Open on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman produced a stunning final round at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, mixing an eagle with nine birdies and two bogeys.

McIlroy flirted with a 59 but bogeyed the final hole, finishing at 22 under for a seven-stroke victory – his 16th success on the PGA Tour – with Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson tied for second.

It marked McIlroy's second win of 2019, a perfect time to find form ahead of the year's third major starting at Pebble Beach on Thursday.

"It was just awesome," McIlroy, who shot 64 on Saturday, told CBS after his win. "I said from the start I wanted to be aggressive. I played with so much freedom yesterday, I just wanted to keep that going today. Tied for the lead, going out and playing with that freedom, it gives me so much confidence."

McIlroy birdied five of his first seven holes and followed with four straight birdies from 11 to 14.

He bogeyed the 16th hole before he concluded his round with an eagle and another bogey, falling just short of a 59.

"Obviously, this is a huge tournament to win, I'm very proud of myself," McIlroy said. "Going forward this season, to play the way I did in a final round like this, I'm going take a lot from this."

Matt Kuchar, who entered the day tied for the lead with McIlroy and Simpson, was even in the final round and tied for fourth with Brandt Snedeker at 13 under.

Canadian Adam Hadwin placed sixth at 12 under.

Dustin Johnson (69) and Justin Thomas (69) tied for 20th at seven under.

Graeme McDowell fired a two-under 68 to be tied for eighth at 10 under, but he still had plenty riding on his last putt.

The 2010 U.S. Open winner holed a 29-footer to secure a top-10 finish and place at this year's Open Championship, which will be hosted in his hometown of Portrush.

Rory McIlroy is tied for the lead after climbing the leaderboard in round three of the RBC Canadian Open on Saturday.

A six-under-par 64 saw McIlroy – making his Canadian Open debut – earn a share of the one-shot lead alongside Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar in Ontario.

Former world number one McIlroy, who last won at The Players Championship in March, tied Jonathan Byrd for the lowest round of the day as he was bogey-free at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

McIlroy – a four-time major champion – finished with six birdies, including one on a tap-in putt after a near perfect approach.

"[I] had a chance to work on [my weaknesses] and I needed to work on my wedge play, needed to work a little bit on my driver," he said, via Golfweek.com. "They've started to come together and it's why I'm at where I'm at on the leaderboard."

McIlroy, who is preparing for the upcoming U.S. Open on June 13, added: "I controlled my ball pretty well today. I drove it well. Drove it in the fairway for the most part, which you need to do around here. That's something I didn't do last week in the Memorial. Big improvement there.

"And then from there, just keep giving myself chances and picking off the birdies when I can. I did that well today. I stayed patient. Made a couple really good up and downs on the back nine when I needed to. You know, all added up to a great score and gives me a chance to win tomorrow."

Kuchar held on to his first-place standing despite a bustling Moving Day. He finished one-under 69 after two bogeys. It was the first day of the week the American dropped multiple shots in one round.

Simpson, who is still chasing his first win of the PGA Tour season, jumped four places following a mistake-free 67.

Shane Lowry (66), Adam Hadwin (67) and Brandt Snedeker (69) are a stroke off the pace at 12 under heading into the final round.

Further down the leaderboard, defending champion Dustin Johnson posted a third-round 68 to be six under and seven shots back.

Meanwhile, US PGA Championship winner and reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is 11 shots off the pace following a two-over-par 72.

Phachara Khongwatmai's pinpoint accuracy led Thailand to a dramatic 2-1 victory over England in the final of the GolfSixes on Saturday.

A seesaw battle between the two nations was sealed on the second extra hole as Khongwatmai went closest to the pin in a windy Cascais, Portugal. 

His superb effort off the sixth tee rolled to within a few feet of the flag, ensuring victory alongside Thongchai Jaidee as England duo Paul Waring and Tom Lewis passed up chances to seal success for their country.

"We used a lot of energy. We were excited to be on the course," said Jaidee.

"The wind was getting stronger and made it difficult, but we got the win and I'm very happy."

Waring and Lewis each had a putt to win it at the end of the regulation six holes, while the first play-off hole also failed to split the teams.

But Khongwatmai stepped up when it mattered to secure €100,000 for himself and veteran playing partner Jaidee.

Italy took third with a 3-0 win over Spain. 

Matt Kuchar and Scott Brown share the Canadian Open lead, but the second round belonged to the surging Brandt Snedeker.

Snedeker shot a 10-under 60 to climb into a tie for third place at 11 under alongside Nick Taylor, a stroke adrift of Brown and Kuchar.

Snedeker's second-round score was the lowest 18 holes in tournament history at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club. He carded eight birdies and one eagle, which came on the par-five fourth hole.

The mistake-free round was also the second lowest on the PGA Tour since the start of the 2017-18 season. Snedeker, who shot a 59 at the Wyndham Championship last year, is the first player since 1983 to have one round of 59, 60 and 61 on the PGA Tour.

"I think it's my putting. When I get hot, I feel like the hole is a beach ball to me," Snedeker said after his round, via Golfweek.com. "I'm not scared about going low. I realise these days don't happen very often. So it almost gets me more excited if I feel like it's going that way."

Kuchar also fared well heading into the weekend. He had one blemish at the par-four seventh but otherwise finished with eight birdies for a seven-under 63.

Brown matched Kuchar's second round to join him in first place.

Brown, who is searching for his first win since the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, said it was due to his irons. He had an eagle on the front nine and five birdies on the back nine.

"Just a lot of good iron shots," Brown said, via GolfDigest.com. "Kind of was feeling it with the irons and had a lot of good looks for birdies most of them."

Webb Simpson sits in fifth place at 10 under, Adam Hadwin follows in sixth at nine under and Mackenzie Hughes, Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell, among others, make up a sizable tie for seventh a shot further back.

McDowell, at one point, was in control of the leaderboard after he fired off three birdies. But two bogeys on his back nine pushed him back down the standings.

Dustin Johnson, the 2018 champion, is in a tie for 33rd place at four under with the likes of Brooks Koepka.

Surprisingly, the world's top two were just above the two under cut line.

Some notable names not making it into the weekend were Russell Henley, J.B. Holmes and Sergio Garcia.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee made the first hole-in-one in GolfSixes history to eliminate defending champions Ireland in Portugal.

Jaidee aced the sixth and final hole at Oitavos Dunes on Friday to seal a 3-1 victory and set up a quarter-final showdown with Scotland.

"I had a perfect shot," said Jaidee. "We're very excited to be in the tournament. Finally we got through and that's the main thing we have to do."

Australia defeated Germany Women by a foot and seven inches in a nearest-the-pin play-off to take second place in Group C, booking a meeting with Group D winners Spain.

France and Italy will also meet in the last eight, while Group A winners England will take on Group B runners-up Sweden.

The innovative event has a swimming pool which players tee off over at the sixth hole along with a DJ, with two women's teams participating and contestants allowed to wear shorts and use measuring devices.

Keegan Bradley earned a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the RBC Canadian Open.

Bradley set the early pace in Ontario, where the American golfer carded a seven-under-par 63 on Thursday.

The 2011 US PGA Championship winner was bogey-free at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, holing seven birdies throughout day one.

Bradley's 63 is his best round since 2013 when the four-time PGA Tour champion shot the same score in the second round at the Northern Trust Open.

His five straight birdies from the seventh through the 11th holes were keyed by his putter as he ended the round ahead of Shane Lowry, Im Sung-jae, Nick Taylor, Erik van Rooyen and Roberto Castro.

"I hit almost every fairway, almost every green, and then holed some putts," Bradley said. "With me, it's all about the putter. When that thing gets going, I can do stuff like I did today."

Former world number one Rory McIlroy posted a three-under-par 67 to be within four shots of Bradley.

McIlroy had five birdies to go with two bogeys as the four-time major winner earned a share of 25th position.

US PGA champion and world number one Brooks Koepka shot a 70 to be level alongside the likes of Justin Thomas.

American star Dustin Johnson, meanwhile, had some struggles during his first-round 71.

Starting on the back nine, Johnson bogeyed five holes before steadying with three birdies and a solitary bogey.

Brooks Koepka will begin his quest for a third straight U.S. Open alongside Open winner Francesco Molinari and U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland of Norway.

Koepka is seeking to become only the second player to win three consecutive U.S. Opens and arrives at Pebble Beach in fine form having claimed his second successive US PGA Championship crown last month.

The world number one headlines a star-studded field set to take on one of golf's iconic venues as he tries to match Willie Anderson, who was crowned victorious each year between 1903 and 1905.

Masters champion Tiger Woods, aiming for his 16th major title, has been be grouped on Thursday and Friday with Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose.

Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 on the Sunday of the tournament and is seeking to win the U.S. Open and complete a career Grand Slam, is set to tee it up with world number two Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell. Rory McIlroy will be alongside Jon Rahm and Marc Leishman.

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