Brooks Koepka may have collected more than €1.8m for his US Open victory at Shinnecock Hills a month ago but the world number four revealed yesterday that he had more fun winning playing in Scotland as a rookie professional on the European Challenge Tour.
The 28-year-old from Florida became the first back-to-back US Open winner since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 89 when he repeated his Erin Hills win of the previous year, his maiden major victory.
Yet speaking on the eve of the 147th Open in Carnoustie, the American admitted that winning the 2013 Scottish Hydro Challenge and a cheque for €35,200 at the start of his career, having decided to earn his stripes in Europe, came at the most enjoyable time of his life.
“I enjoyed it. And I know I’ve said this a million times, it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing golf.
“Probably the funnest time of my life coming over here and playing.
“I enjoyed it way more than I probably do now, playing on the (PGA) Tour.
“You know, going to dinners with — you’ve got a group of seven or eight guys in the States, and you just kind of have your team and other people you’re around, wife, girlfriend, guys go home to them.
“You don’t see guys coming out for dinner, watching the football matches, things like that. I mean, it was a bunch of fun. I really enjoyed it. It was by far the most exciting time in my life.”
A fellow American with a rather different relationship with Europe and Europeans is Masters champion Patrick Reed, who made headlines in Scotland during the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles with his on-course displays of passion.
Reed admitted yesterday that he has come to appreciate the passion shown on the other side of the ropes here after getting to understand their love and support for football.
“The more I started talking to some of the fans, the more I started paying a little bit more attention to football and stuff, you see how passionate they get with their team who are out there grinding and are playing for their country and everything. I think they really enjoy that. You know, I think that’s the reason they got behind me.
“I always love coming over here because of the fans. It’s awesome to be around.”
As to whether Reed follows a football team of his own now, the American said: “Not one that’s good enough to play in the World Cup.”
There came a point in Justin Rose’s time as Olympic golf champion when the Englishman sensed no-one was asking to “show us your medal”.
The gold medallist from Rio in 2016 was asked yesterday whether he was like that year’s Olympic bronze medallist Matt Kuchar, who reportedly continues to carry his gong around.
But, yes, when you win a tournament like that, you have four years of bragging rights. It’s been a fun deal, but it’s resting nice and quietly at home.”