Brooks Koepka isn't buying into the notion that he and Rory McIlroy are rivals on the golf course.
Koepka recently downplayed the concept of rivalries in golf during an interview with Daniel Hicks of the American Foreign Press.
He also noted McIlroy's performance does not quite match up to his: "I've been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I've been on the PGA Tour. So I just don't view it as a rivalry. I'm not looking at anybody behind me. I'm No. 1 in the world. I've got open road in front of me. I'm not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don't see it as a rivalry."
That's not to say he doesn't respect the Northern Irish's game. He made sure to show some love to McIlroy.
"Look, I love Rory. He's a great player and he's fun to watch, but it's just hard to believe there's a rivalry in golf," Koepka said. "I just don't see it."
It's hard to argue with the results.
Koepka has earned his way to the top spot in world rankings. The 29-year-old has won five major titles since 2017, including the 2019 PGA Championship in May. The Floridian finished in the top five at all four major tournaments this year, coming in second at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the Open Championship.
Meanwhile, McIlroy—the world No. 2—has not had the same sort of recent success as Koepka. Although the 30-year-old won four majors from 2011 to 2014, he has not won any over the last five years. Of note, McIlroy did not finish higher than tied for eighth at any of the four majors in 2019, which included missing the cut at the Open Championship.
McIlroy did, however, capture the FedEx Cup for the second time in his career.
Golf has had its fair share of rivalries, most notably Jack Nicklaus vs. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, through the years. Although he and McIlroy are among the top players in today's game, Koepka is focused on letting his game do the talking.