Two majors down, two to go - and a lot more storylines left to uncover as the summer season heats up on the PGA Tour.
Golf is primed to move through its busiest stretch of the year that includes two majors in four weeks along with the high-stakes FedEx Cup playoffs and its $10-million payday.
So, here are five questions to consider ahead of the last few months of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season:
After winning the U.S. Open for the second straight year on Sunday, Koepka admitted that having three career PGA Tour victories that include two majors is a little weird.
That's why despite becoming just the third golfer in the modern era to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles (something Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods never did), and moving into fourth on the Official World Golf Ranking, questions still remain about Koepka's status in the sport's upper echelon of players.
The 28-year-old took a roundabout way to get to the PGA Tour, playing in Europe for a few years and winning four times on the European Tour's minor-league circuit before moving back to America.
He's one of the longest hitters on the planet (11th in driving distance this year), makes a ton of birdies (17th on tour in birdie average), and was able to win a U.S. Open on two courses that were essentially opposite tests – with Erin Hills in 2017 being a birdie-fest and Shinnecock Hills being a fight for survival. His work on the green is passable (he's 75th on tour in strokes gained: putting), and he certainly doesn’t lack confidence or the ability to play under pressure, as he's finished outside the top 25 only once in his last 13 majors.
But his contemporaries - Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas among them - are all winning more frequently. Yes, Koepka has more majors than Day, Johnson, and Thomas, but until he shows up in the winner’s circle more often, he'll remain somewhat forgotten.
Woods' U.S. Open was basically over before it started after a triple-bogey on his opening hole.
It was a microcosm of his season, as his whole game just seemed off.
Woods has shown some flashes of brilliance this year, including a tie for second at the Valspar Championship in March. He came into the U.S. Open with some form, but his putting was such a question mark that it would have been hard to believe he could have competed at the testy Shinnecock Hills.
Overall, he's missed only two cuts this year, but his stats show he's been playing with a piecemeal game.
He’s 155th in driving accuracy (although his clubhead speed is 13th on tour, not bad for a 42-year-old with a fused-together back), 123rd in greens in regulation, and 126th in total putting.
He's managed to play well by leaning on his iron play and chipping – he's third in strokes gained: approach the green and sixth in strokes gained: tee to green – and when the putts fall, his scores have reflected that.
But unless Woods is able to stay healthy and string all those things together well for four rounds, it would be a tall order for him to find the winner's circle again this season with most of his good chances on the schedule long past.
Out of all the golfers left in the conversation of week-in and week-out favorites, Rickie Fowler has the perfect combination of age and pedigree to be considered the best without a major.
The four-time PGA Tour winner has lost twice in playoffs. He's won a FedEx Cup playoff event and The Players Championship. He finished in the top five at all four majors in 2014 and was second at the Masters this year before following that up with a T-20 at the U.S. Open last week.
It seems inevitable that Fowler will finally capture a major title. He embraces links golf, so Carnoustie next month would be a good fit, and Bellerive Country Club, the site of this year’s PGA Championship, could play into Fowler's hands as well. He has a game that travels well.
If you had to put money on one of the major-less guys to get the monkey off their back, Fowler would be the one.
This year's Ryder Cup in France is shaping up to be an all-timer.
The U.S. side has both major champions from this year (Koepka and Patrick Reed), current and former world No. 1s Johnson, Thomas, and Spieth, not to mention multi-time PGA Tour winners Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, and Fowler. In fact, Fowler is the only golfer on the American side who hasn’t won a major.
The rest of the list of hopefuls includes veterans Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, and Zach Johnson, along with up-and-coming stars like 2017 Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, and Aaron Wise.
Plus, Woods hasn’t ruled himself out of being a playing vice-captain.
Meanwhile, the European side lacks top-heavy star power, but its players are arguably in better form right now - with Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari having recently won and Tommy Fleetwood nearly capturing the U.S. Open last week.
The rest of the squad may be a little reliant on rookies like Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton, and Jon Rahm, but when one of those (Rahm) is a top-10 golfer in the world, it’s not a bad problem to have.
The current European squad doesn’t even include major winners Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson, or Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter.
Both teams get four wild-card picks, so while there is still a lot of golf to be played, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Poulter, Garcia, Stenson, and Paul Casey chosen for Europe, while Mickelson, DeChambeau, Kuchar, and Finau make it for the Americans.
It’s been a bit back-and-forth this year between Johnson and Thomas, but given Johnson's play of late - and looking at the balance of the schedule - he should remain on top for the rest of the season.
It’s going to be a battle, though.
While The Open Championship is statistically Johnson’s worst major, this year’s PGA Championship should play into his skill set, along with most of the FedEx Cup playoff events, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and the RBC Canadian Open, which he's already committed to.
Thomas could go on the kind of run he did a year ago, however, and defend his title at the PGA. He captured a FedEx Cup playoff event last season and the FedEx Cup itself en route to capturing Player of the Year honors, but it just seems like Johnson is locked in this time around.
Adam Stanley has written about golf since 2011 for PGATOUR.com, LPGA.com, and the Canadian Press, among other organizations. He's also a frequent contributor to The Globe and Mail. Find him on Twitter @adam_stanley.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)