News Details

June 19, 2017

West Virginia Wesleyan Dad Relishes Son’s US Open Win

West Virginia Wesleyan graduate Bob Koepka ’81 received a Father’s Day present he will cherish the rest of his life, his son’s U.S. Open Golf Championship.  When Brooks Koepka made the final putt on the 18th hole to clinch the title, it was a dream come true for the elder Koepka. When Fox announcer Joe Buck stated that Brooks’ dad was a pitcher at West Virginia Wesleyan, alumni across the country smiled with pride.

“What an incredible Father’s Day present,” said the Wesleyan graduate.  “When he walked up the 18th fairway is when it hit me that my son was about to become the U.S. Open Champion.”

Athletic success is a tradition with the Koepka family.  Bob’s brother, Scott ’78, was the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year in 1975, in a season that included a no-hitter against West Virginia State.  Bob followed Scott’s footsteps to Wesleyan, and both were key components of the Bobcats pitching staff in 1978.  After Scott’s graduation, Bob led the team in several pitching statistical categories each of the next three seasons.

The Koepka athletic roots trace back to their Uncle Dick Groat who was an All-American basketball player at Duke and an All-Star shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.  In 1960, Groat was the National League Most Valuable Player and led the Pirates to a World Series title.  In 1964, he helped the St. Louis Cardinals win a World Series title.

Bob, who is now a scratch golfer, after taking up the sport in earnest after graduating from Wesleyan, introduced the game to his sons at an early age. Brooks became a prodigy by the time he entered middle school and made the high school golf team as a sixth grader. At the age of 13, he ended his dad’s five-time run as the club champion at Sherbrooke Golf and Country Club in Lake Worth, FL.  He later enjoyed a standout career as a college golfer, earning ACC Player of the Year honors and All-American status at Florida State. 

After graduation, Brooks further developed his game overseas on the Challenge Tour and then the European Tour.  He won several times on the Challenge Tour and finished fourth in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.  That performance helped him land his PGA card, and he quickly won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015.  Last fall, he played a pivotal role with a 3-1 record for the U.S. winning Ryder Cup Team.

Bob and his wife, Sherry, have watched Brooks behind the ropes at many golf tournaments.  However, they watched this U.S. Open from their home in Florida.  As he does each time when he is not in attendance, Bob calls his son to offer encouragement and advice.  Yesterday was no different as Bob delivered a lengthy pep talk.  Brooks left his rented house and proceeded to play the most stunning golf of his life. 

After the win, hundreds of Wesleyan alumni reached out to Bob to celebrate Brooks’ victory and his family’s ties to the College.  “It has been a joy to lift up Wesleyan,” concluded Bob.  “After all, I will always be a Bobcat.”  

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