American Brooks Koepka captured his first major championship at the U.S. Open after finishing 16 under for the tournament.
USA TODAY Sports
The congratulatory text message was from one Seminole to another Seminole.
In fact, it’s an exclusive club.
Brooks Koepka joined Hubert Green on Sunday as the only two Florida State golfers to win the U.S. Open.
“I have heard good things about him,” Green said from his Mountain Brook, Ala., residence in a telephone interview with the Tallahassee Democrat on Sunday night. “His drives are a mile. He does it all, he does it all. I was just getting ready to text him to say congratulations.”
Koepka, 27, who starred at FSU from 2008 to 2012, closed with a 5-under 67 at Erin Hills in Wisconsin to win the U.S. Open for his first major championship.
Green, 70, won 22 PGA Tour victories, including the 1977 U.S. Open and the 1985 PGA Championship. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
Green, an Alabama native, arrived at FSU in 1965 and served as the Seminoles’ team captain in 1968.
He turned professional in 1970 and enjoyed an outstanding career, finishing in the top-25 in a third of the PGA Tour events he entered. Green also survived oral cancer that was diagnosed in 2003.
Though his voice wavered at times, his message was clear. He was impressed by Koepka’s performance that saw him make three consecutive birdies on the back nine to break away from the field.
Green added that he tries to keep up with former Seminoles on the PGA Tour.
Daniel Berger, who played at FSU from 2011 to 2013, won the St. Jude Classic for the second consecutive year last weekend.
“I think this will help (Koepka’s) mental confidence,” Green said.
“He has a pretty good notch in his belt, so the other guys should watch out. He has so much talent, so much length. … I think he will be a tremendous player for a long time.”
More: Ryder Cup gave Brooks Koepka confidence to withstand pressure
FSU men’s golf coach Trey Jones, in Omaha to watch the baseball Seminoles in the College World Series, couldn’t have been more proud of Koepka.
“You heard his caddy say early in the round say ‘stay aggressive,’ ” Jones said. “You could tell the way he played that he attacked (the course), taking on aggressive lines. He’s a complete player.”
Matt Savage, a former teammate of Koepka’s at FSU and later an assistant coach with the Seminoles (2012-15), wasn’t surprised by Koepka’s poise and consistency off the tee in windy conditions.
“He was just bombing it (off the tee) and when you hit it as good as he does, the wind doesn’t really have that big of an affect on your golf ball,” said Savage, who resides in Bowling Green, Ky.
“It never looked hard at all for him.”
“He doesn’t show his emotions, he just walks up and plays,” said Green, a member of the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
“It’s sort of like Jack Nicklaus. He just tees it up and goes.”