Brooks Koepka has downplayed any talk about a rivalry with McIlroy: "Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour"
Brooks Koepka didn't hold back when he was asked about a potential rivalry with Rory McIlroy, who is currently lies second to him in the World Rankings.
"I'm not looking at anybody behind me," Koepka told the AFP ahead of his title defence at this week's CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges.
"I'm No. 1 in the world. I've got open road in front of me and I'm not looking in the rear-view mirror, so I don't see it as a rivalry."
It's understandable why the comparison has been drawn. Both players won three times on Tour this year, they are just a year apart in age, and have four majors each to their name.
They also found themselves grouped together recently in the final rounds of both the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational and the Tour Championship, and while Koepka convincingly earned his first WGC, it was McIlroy who won the PGA Tour's final event of the season to claim the $15million reward at East Lake.
For Koepka though, McIlroy's triumph at the FedEx Cup and a consistent season that resulted in him being named 2019 PGA Tour's Player of the Year by his peers doesn't merit the talk of rivalry, because while they may have an equal amount of majors, all Koepka's have come in the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Rory hasn't lifted a major trophy since the PGA Championship at Valhalla in 2014.
"I've been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour," he said. "So I just don't view it as a rivalry."
"You know if the fans do [call it a rivalry], then that's on them and it could be fun.
"Look 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."