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.
|Inter taking legal action against Tebas over Modric transfer comments|
|Serie A transfer round-up: Zaza joins Torino, Parma sign Gervinho|
|Roma chief Pallotta makes light of De Laurentiis claim|
|Federer starts double-header by seeing off resilient Mayer|
|Ospina joins Napoli on loan from Arsenal|
|Klavan completes Cagliari switch|
|Djokovic holds out against Dimitrov as Raonic awaits|
|New dates confirmed for postponed Serie A fixtures|
|Halep breezes past Barty to set up Tsurenko clash on same day|
|Olesen unable to capitalise on strong start as Jamieson, Waring go clear|
|Hoffenheim tie Kramaric to four-year deal|
|Mina to miss Southampton clash while Gomes is ´weeks´ away|
|Barcelona coach Valverde dismisses Pogba speculation|
|Valverde not prioritising Champions League over defending Barcelona´s LaLiga title|
|Allegri thanks outgoing Juventus icon Marchisio|
|Pants display from Beef? Johnston forced into change of trousers in Sweden|
|Tour champion Thomas has Welsh velodrome named in his honour|
|Gloucester surprised and disappointed by RFU´s swift Cipriani charge|
|Storm skipper Smith´s back injury not ´too serious´|
|Spurs fixture switch doesn´t appeal to Guardiola|
|Brazil call up Andreas Pereira & Arthur but omit Man City stars|
|Mbappe returns to PSG squad, Kehrer set for debut|
|No Messi in Argentina squad as Simeone wins first call-up|
|England man Roy embarrassed by self-inflicted facial injury|
|Atletico Madrid fined for breaching third-party regulations|
|Cipriani charged by RFU after common assault conviction|
|No contact, no negotiation - Leonardo denies AC Milan deal for Milinkovic-Savic|
|Kovacic set for Chelsea debut against Arsenal|
|Fury´s father restrained as Wilder crashes Pianeta weigh-in|
|Kohli and Bumrah fit for win-or-bust Test|
|Stokes ready and desperate to help England, says Root|
|Salah, Mane and Firmino not in competition says Klopp|
|Darmian staying at Manchester United, says Mourinho|
|Guardiola cites fatigue as factor for stricken De Bruyne|
|Kovac approves Rudy departure from bloated Bayern midfield|
|Klopp insists no player leaves without his approval amid Klavan rumours|
|Real Madrid complain to FIFA over Inter´s alleged Modric approach|
|Mourinho ´has never been so happy´ with unsettled Pogba|
|Manly implode amid Barrett uncertainty, Storm´s Smith injured|
|Sarri certain Hazard is staying at Chelsea|
|Liverpool, Champions League, Manchester derby - The matches De Bruyne will miss due to injury|
|Campbell joins Frosinone from Arsenal on permanent deal|
|Schalke sign Lille´s Mendyl to end left-back hunt|
|Stokes back in England team as Curran drops out|
|Ronaldo doesn´t guarantee Juventus the title, warns Allegri|
|Tuchel keen to guide PSG star Mbappe after World Cup heroics|
|Yuri: I can see Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Milan pounce for Castillejo as Bacca joins Villarreal permanently|
|De Bruyne to miss three months for Manchester City|
|Manchester City talent Arzani completes Celtic loan|
|I know how precious my career is, says regretful Cipriani|
|Paulo Bento named new South Korea coach|
|Milan complete Laxalt deal|
|Poyet suspended by Bordeaux after outburst against board|
|Tuchel will let Neymar and Cavani settle penalties themselves|
|Hooper: We´re ready, bring on the All Blacks!|
|Outstanding Australia deserve our respect - Read|
|Dragons´ Widdop set for Finals return|
|Jamshed found guilty of corruption and banned for 10 years|
|Bennett will not be sacked, insist Broncos|
|Marchisio leaves Juventus|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at round one of the Rugby Championship|
|Durham sign Bancroft for 2019|
|Wolfsburg to fine Hinds after training no-show|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Team-by-team guide|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Atletico Madrid ready for another title push|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Mets set franchise record in 20-run victory|
|Poyet threatens to quit after Bordeaux sell Laborde|
|Keys hits 55 winners en route to QFs, Halep claims rain-interrupted match|