Brooks Koepka has grown used to people underestimating him, but after flying under the radar to win a second straight U.S. Open title he would not have it any other way. "But I knew that it was going to be that much more hard".
Koepka has established himself as one of the top players in the world and Cowen said he can go from strength to strength. "Because it could have been a big momentum shift there, and we could have been playing tennis just going back and forth".
The Englishman's initial challenge wilted in the brutal conditions on Saturday when he dropped five shots in four holes to start his back nine but when the USGA watered the Shinnecock Hills course overnight, Fleetwood knew a low score was possible.
"Right now I feel like it's just shy but you never know".
Although he'd been up since dawn and had already put in a full day at Bellerive with a 7:56 a.m. tee time, Sunday began a process the U.S. Ryder Cup captain has prepared for and anticipated for two years.
Shinnecock went from ridiculously hard on Saturday to overly gentle on Sunday, though the ultimate measure was Koepka playing the final 36 holes in even par to win.
2 Fleetwood hit the most fairways, with 48 (86 percent), with eight players tied for second with 47 (84 percent).
"I don't think I could have dreamed of this, going back-to-back", Koepka said when interviewed by unusual on the 18th green.
Koepka has taken an unorthodox route to the top, having started his professional career in Europe rather than at home in the United States, but I think we are seeing the rewards of that. "It's truly special and I'm so honored".
Still, questions about the future for Koepka focused on the U.S. Open, in which Curtis Strange was the last to successfully defend in 1989.
Playing in freshening wind and knowing that Fleetwood was in the clubhouse on two-over Koepka produced a string of clutch putts on the back nine.
Koepka also crucially saved par on the 12th and 14th before striking the killer blow, a superb approach to the par-five 16th setting up a tap-in birdie.
Fleetwood, who was fourth behind Koepka previous year and partnered him in the final round at Erin Hills, said: 'It's my first ever Father's Day as a father. How it got there was the topic of hot debate, though, with conditions deteriorating so badly in the afternoon on Saturday that the course seemed almost unplayable and so soft on Sunday that Fleetwood - who missed a short birdie putt on the 18th hole - tied the Open record of 63. A tough 12-footer limited the damage at 11 to what he called "a great bogey" after he hit over the green into deep rough and from there into a bunker. "Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that's what I enjoy", he added. He finished his round as Koepka was finishing up the par-3 seventh.
Even so, he has 18 victories and is the only player to sweep the World Golf Championships, small fields with the best players. "It wasn't great for me, but it was great as a golfer to watch how he did it and watch how he closed it out".
Justin Rose also continued his fantastic year with another good week. He had broken out of the pack with three birdies in the first four holes. We're extremely close. I love the guy to death.
Masters champion Patrick Reed flirted with the second leg of the Grand Slam.
He nearly won it last year, nearly won it this year and there's no doubt he'll eventually win one, you mark my words.