Defending champion Brooks Koepka may not be the main attraction at the U.S. Open, but he is eyeing another win.
Koepka tees off alongside Jason Day and Bubba Watson at Shinnecock Hills on Thursday to begin his title defence.
But Koepka is not in Southampton, New York, to play second, third or any other fiddle.
"The only reason I'm here is to win. If it wasn't for that I wouldn't have signed up," Koepka said during his Tuesday news conference. "I feel like I always play well at the U.S. Open. Major championships are where I shine."
Starting with the 2015 Open Championship, Koepka has finished 13th or better in eight of the nine major tournaments in which he has competed, including his first major win at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
Since lifting that trophy a year ago by tying the tournament record at 16 under, Koepka has endured some frustrating times. A partially torn tendon in his left wrist brought his streak of eight consecutive top-20 finishes to a screeching halt as he missed four months (including the Masters) to start the 2018 season.
"You go from playing some of the best golf I've ever played to probably being at the lowest point professionally that I've been," Koepka said before describing the toll inactivity took on his body. "The lowest point was the fact I gained about 15 pounds. Looking in the mirror wasn't quite fun."
Koepka ultimately recovered quicker than anticipated and he claims to be "100 per cent" past the injury. There is no basis for argument as his play suggests he is back to top shape ahead of his U.S. Open defence. A tied for 11th finish at The Players Championship last month was followed by a second-placed finish and three rounds of 67 or better at the Forth Worth Invitational.
Koepka, currently ninth in the rankings, fielded common questions about Shinnecock on Thursday and likened the course to Erin Hills. However, his success this weekend may not hinge on the width of the fairways or firmness of the greens, but on the lesson he learned en route to winning this tournament last year.
"The one thing I learned is patience. Be there with nine to play," he said.
|Vieira: Balotelli the same now as he was at 16|
|Butragueno backs under-fire Lopetegui|
|Liverpool´s defensive improvement has hurt attack – Klopp|
|Butler booed by Timberwolves fans during introductions|
|Pochettino: Dier´s Ramos tackle highlighted Spurs´ attitude|
|Man City working on new deal for Sane – Guardiola|
|Golden Knights sign RW Tuch to seven-year extension|
|Bryant explains how Lakers could beat Warriors|
|Finals hopefuls Isner, Fognini into Stockholm semis|
|Browns trade running back Hyde to Jaguars|
|Mourinho: I´d love to have Hazard at Manchester United|
|Hamilton´s title chances enhanced by Vettel´s grid penalty|
|Deja vu for Enisei as La Rochelle inflict another thrashing|
|Five-star Jovic makes Bundesliga history|
|Liverpool´s scoring slump no concern for cautious Klopp|
|He´s the Special One - Sarri insists he is not on Mourinho´s level yet|
|Second-half blitz guides Leicester to European success|
|Sheffield Wednesday 1 Middlesbrough 2: Besic, Assombalonga see off Owls|
|Goerges rallies to reach Luxembourg Open final, Jabeur makes history|
|Howe: Transfer speculation will not disrupt Ake|
|´Do we really want opera every night?´ - Klopp not changing Nations League view|
|Vile and abhorrent – Chelsea´s Carney responds to online abuse|
|Giants WR Beckham Jr. explains why he might cramp up: ´I really don´t like water´|
|Man City pay training-pitch tribute to Joe Hart|
|Neymar to be rested as Tuchel rubbishes Ballon d´Or concerns|
|Sarri ´not interested´ in Christensen father´s quit threat|
|Cardinals fire offensive coordinator McCoy after 1-6 start|
|Neymar return unlikely, but anything can happen – Valverde|
|Bairstow a doubt for fourth ODI|
|Manchester United fined for late arrival and delayed kick-off against Valencia|
|Australia-Pakistan chat not ´especially polite´ - Sarfraz|
|Pogba relishing ´pressure game´ against in-form Hazard|
|Don´t bet on Cardiff survival, warns Warnock|
|Buffon enjoying Tuchel´s methods at PSG|
|RIP to Wimbledon epics! Isner feels like The Undertaker following final-set tie-break rule|
|Sevilla performance sealed Bernat´s Bayern exit - Hoeness|
|Keita set to miss out as Liverpool monitor injured stars|
|He didn´t want to be here – Guardiola doubts Sancho will return to Manchester City|
|Sarri: Manchester United are the best in the Premier League|
|Mourinho salutes ´brave´ Shaw for ´best possible´ response to criticism|
|No Ballon d´Or distractions for Griezmann, insists Simeone|
|Wigan stand by Hardaker as full-back prepares to undergo rehabilitation|
|Barcelona deny Neymar talk|
|Hazard can win the Ballon d´Or as a Chelsea player, insists Sarri|
|De Bruyne in contention to start in Manchester City´s clash with Burnley|
|Neymar needs to mature to reach Messi levels - Xavi|
|We have a hell of a lot to do - Paine slams Australia batting|
|Kerber and Osaka to meet at WTA Finals|
|Lorenzo out of Japanese MotoGP|
|Real Madrid handed Africa trip in Copa del Rey|
|Allegri: Ronaldo has sharpened Juventus focus|
|No Wade in Wasps squad amid NFL reports|
|Rooney: Five of us controlled Man United dressing room|
|Bayern bosses launch scathing attack on ´disrespectful´ media|
|Saints lock in Lawes to new deal|
|Adelaide United 1 Sydney 1: Debutant Le Fondre rescues a point|
|Madrid can´t look back, only forward - Lopetegui confident of revival|
|Wimbledon to introduce final-set tie-breaks|
|Abbas inspires Pakistan to series victory|
|Madrid boss Lopetegui hopeful on Bale availability|
|Mood is positive at Bayern, insists under-pressure Kovac|
|LeBron offers food for thought after losing Lakers debut|
|Bolt future not an immediate concern for Mariners|
|Hazard: I could finish my career at Chelsea|
|Buffon hoping to avoid Champions League final against Juventus|
|Wilshere not ready for West Ham return|
|Chelsea v Manchester United: Hazard better under Sarri than he ever was with Mourinho|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Khawaja suffers meniscal tear, doubt for India series|
|Babbel: Klopp must win trophies now at Liverpool|