Golf

Brooks Koepka’s Family History of Athleticism Includes Former MLB Star Dick Groat

Brooks Koepka is one of the world’s best golfers, so it’s not a surprise that athletism runs in his family. What’s unexpected is that his lineage doesn’t involve golf. Baseball is the Koepka family’s sport of choice. Not only did his father play baseball, but Koepka’s great uncle, Dick Groat, had a successful MLB career.

While Koepka is the first member of his family to make it to the PGA Tour, he may not be the last if his younger brother has something to say about it.

Brooks Koepka’s PGA success

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Koepka golfed while attending Florida State. He qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open as an amateur but failed to make the cut. Koepka turned pro that summer and began playing on Europe’s Challenge Tour. He played in his first PGA events in 2014. He’s gone on to have great success at the highest level since then.

Since turning pro, Koepka has won seven titles, including four majors. His major victories came at the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, along with back-to-back wins at the PGA Championship, with those coming in 2018 and 2019.

Baseball runs in Koepka’s family

Koepka’s father Bob is a big fan of baseball, and he was a pitcher at West Virginia Wesleyan, reports Golf Digest. But the real baseball stardom in Koepka’s family comes from his great uncle, Dick Groat. Groat played 14 seasons in MLB from 1952-67 (forgoing the 1953 and ’54 seasons due to military service).

The eight-time All-Star was named the NL MVP in 1960 and finished second in MVP voting in 1963, details Baseball-Reference. Groat won two World Series, with the Pirates in 1960 and the Cardinals in 1964 — with the Yankees on the losing end of both series. The shortstop was a .286 career hitter who hit 39 home runs, with 707 RBI.

Groat was a two-sport athlete; the Fort Wayne Pistons took him with the third overall pick in the 1952 NBA draft. Even though Groat ultimately chose baseball over basketball, reports Basketball-Reference, he played in 26 games for Fort Wayne in the 1952-53 season. His average was 11.9 points per game in 25.5 minutes. To date, Groat is one of just 12 people to play in both MLB and the NBA.

Koepka’s younger brother follows in his footsteps

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Brooks hopes the Koepka golf legacy doesn’t end with him. His younger brother is trying to have his own success in the sport. Chase Koepka is also a professional golfer who plays on the European Tour and Challenge Tour overseas. The 26-year-old tried to qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour this year in order to play stateside, reports Heavy, but he didn’t make it.

The Koepka brothers played together professionally once, at New Orleans’ 2017 Zurich Classic. They discussed the pairing, with Brooks saying they “know each other’s games so well that it will actually suit [them]” in the format of the event. Chase agreed, saying he knows his brother’s strengths and weaknesses. Chase also acknowledged it’s “actually a good asset” for that tournament. The brothers didn’t win, but they finished in fifth place.

Chase has yet to follow in Brooks’ footsteps by participating in the PGA Tour full-time, but he’s had the chance to play in five events on the top tour so far, details ESPN. His best finish, 26th place, came at his most recent PGA event, the 3M Open in July, an event where Brooks missed the cut.