Brooks Koepka on Tiger Woods: 'I'm going to catch him on majors'

Brooks Koepka has never been a player lacking in confidence.

The four-time major winner said plenty in an interview with Golf Digest's Matthew Rudy, but the biggest claim came at the end, when Rudy and Koepka discussed career priorities. The 31-year-old Koepka said he would rather win tournaments and miss some cuts rather than make the cut every time, then dropped quite an answer when asked about reaching Tiger Woods.

From Golf Digest:

Has Tiger set the bar out of reach?

In my mind, I’m going to catch him on majors. I believe that. I don’t see any reason that can stop me. I’m 31. I have another 14 years left. If I win one a year, I got Jack [Nicklaus]. People misconstrue that as being cocky. No, that’s just my belief. If I don’t have that belief, I shouldn’t be out there. If you don’t think you can win, why the hell are you teeing it up? Yeah, I’m just going for second place this week. There’s a lot of that on tour. Even elite players are very happy with that. Second? Sports are made to have a winner and a loser. You’re one or the other.

Koepka currently has four major titles to his name: the 2017 and 2018 US Open and the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championship. Woods has 15 majors, the most recent being his stunning 2019 Masters title (in which Koepka tied for second). Nicklaus remains the majors king among men with 18.

Brooks Koepka remains confident

It might be easy for some to mock Koepka for talking about catching Woods when he's not even a third of the way there, but it's important to remember a) we are talking about a professional athlete and b) that professional athlete is Brooks Koepka.

Pretty much every major professional athlete you see — from the NFL to the Premier League to the Olympics to the PGA Tour — is going to be an overconfident person. Overconfidence is basically a requirement for sanity when pursuing a career that has an outrageously low probability of financial success.

Koepka saying he believes he has at least 11 more major wins in him is just that confidence evolving to its highest level, from believing you can make it as a professional athlete to believing you can be one of the all-time greats. Koepka is just saying out loud what some other athletes prefer to keep behind closed doors.

And to be fair to Koepka, if there is a golfer active today who could catch Woods, it's probably him. He hasn't won one since 2019, but that was due to recurring hip and knee issues in 2020. Since his return from surgery, he has finished in the top 6 in the past three majors.

Among players in Koepka's generation, the only player who matches him in major titles is Rory McIlroy, and he hasn't won a title since 2014. If Koepka is healthy going forward (yes, a big if), of course he thinks he can match Woods.