2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Rory McIlroy vs. Brooks Koepka: Runaway Train
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy
His tee shot is going right at the hole…
OK, you’ll admit it: That noise you made when Koepka hit his shot wasn’t so much a scream as a yelp. An involuntary yelp.
His ball sails directly toward that familiar front-left pin. Even over the gasping and yelping of so many others, you can collectively hear a faint noise some 240 yards away.
He hit the flagstick. Koepka hit the damned flagstick.
You quickly swivel your head to catch him in mock frustration over failing to make a hole-in-one. Koepka pantomimes breaking his 4-iron over his thigh, Bo Jackson-style, except the man with brilliant hand-eye coordination misses the point of no return. The shaft of his club connects with thigh, much to his surprise.
Now smiling one of those I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened kind of smiles, he holds up the club to his caddie, Ricky Elliott, who sees what everyone else does: The 4-iron now looks more like a boomerang.
Koepka’s smile turns into an all-out laugh – hey, he’s still about to tap in for a fourth straight birdie to start the round – as he walks off the tee box and casually tosses the bent club to a 6-year-old kid whose father is undoubtedly trying to remember his eBay password in the moment.
All of this will only help grow the legend of Koepka: Nearly makes an ace, bends his club, laughs about it, tosses it to a kid, makes another birdie and – just maybe – goes on to win the Masters.
You’re now all-in on the Brooks bandwagon, though you know the birdie barrage can’t go on forever. He makes par on holes 5, 6 and 7, birdies the par-5 eighth, then adds another par on 9, making the turn in 31 and in sole possession of the lead at 14-under, a score which won or would’ve won seven editions of this tournament in the past decade.
As you head to the 10th hole trying to fully grasp Koepka’s major championship domination, you run into a high school buddy who’s been bouncing around the front-nine.
“I hear Brooks is playing well,” he says, the understatement of the week so far.
“Game over,” you tell him. “They’re gonna have to rip the sleeves off one of those green jackets.”
“You know what they say,” offers the guy who hasn’t seen Koepka hit a single shot. “The Masters doesn’t even start until the back-nine on Sunday. Even money: I’ll give you Brooks, I get the field. You in for a hundo?”
- Of course you take the bet, this thing is over.
- You would have, but he had you second-guessing before he ever made the offer.