FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - No offense to Tim Herron and Craig Stadler, but 22 years after Tiger Woods first came on the scene, you don't see any PGA Tour players with nicknames such as Lumpy and Walrus any more.
The fitness regimen that allowed the young Tiger to overpower golf courses started to chase players into the gym in order to keep up with him. Snickers bars were gone from the locker room. Granola bars were in. Golfers started thinking of themselves as athletes and the flat-bellied generation took over. Meanwhile, people wondered whether, in the future, there would be a super athletic golfer who looked more like a tight end.
He's here. Brooks Koepka is the monster Tiger Woods created.
They have gone 1-2, splitting the last two majors and for the first time in a major they'll be paired together this week at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, part of the first two rounds' marquee threesome.
Woods, who during his long road back was one of the "dew sweepers" back in the field with early weekend tee times, now has a chance to go up against a new generation of rivals like Koepka.
"It's great to be part of the narrative," Woods said at his packed news conference in the Media Center.
It's different. Woods once intimidated anyone who challenged him, especially if they were playing in the same group. Woods' icy demeanor and steady game - he wasn't going to give anything back - put pressure on his opponents who often ended up trying to do too much. It's one reason he never lost a major that he led after 54 holes until Y.E. Yang took him down at the 2009 PGA at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minn.
Today's young players have no fear, starting with the 6-foot, 205-pound Koepka, whose focus matches his physique. Nothing seems to bother him, although he did flinch a bit by missing birdie opportunities at the last two holes that could have put heat on Woods at the Masters.
"I mean, what's the point in fearing anybody?" he said. "We're not fighting. I mean, unless I was standing there and not prepared for a punch. Other than that, he's not going to knock my teeth in. He's not going to hurt me. So what's there to be afraid of?"
When you hit it as long as Koepka does, nothing much. In that way, he reminds you of how Woods' power gave him a huge advantage over the rest of the field, especially at a venue like Bethpage, which is long and wet, the same way it was when Woods won the 2002 U.S. Open here. It will be interesting to see how each of them attacks the course this week, Tiger now less explosive than he once was.
When he was asked whether Koepka reminded him of a young Tiger, Woods said, "No, I wish. I was never that big. I was 130 pounds. But we're both able to generate speed. I did it differently. I didn't have muscle. I did it through whip and timing. Brooksy has just got pure power, and he's an athlete. He played other sports, and he could have easily been a baseball player. If you're able to generate bat speed, you can definitely generate club head speed in golf."
The other difference is emotion. Koepka shows none of it, even after those three wins in his last seven major starts, including last year's PGA. It's part of the reason he's unappreciated. Woods was always a photographer's delight with his fist pumps, smiles and yelps.
One area where they are similar is confidence, especially in the majors. Koepka hasn't won a regular PGA Tour event but says that the majors are the easiest ones to win. He says he's "got a number" in mind of how many he'll eventually get and that it's in the double digits.
"There are 156 in the field (this week), so you figure at least 80 of them I'm just going to beat," he said, explaining his approach. "You figure about half of them won't play well from there, so you're down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, pressure is going to get to (some of) them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you've just got to beat those guys."
Lately, one of those guys is Tiger.
Koepka says he's looking forward to playing alongside Woods but he doesn't see beyond that.
"I don't see it as a rivalry. I mean, it's just golf," he said. "It's not like there's been a huge history there like football, (where) you've got a rivalry that's been over 20, 30 years. It's just really been the last couple years.
"So I don't see it as a rivalry, although it is fun to play against him, best player to ever play the game. You guys want to talk about rivalry, I think that's pretty cool to hear. It's exciting for me."
The first two days will be exciting enough. Sunday in the last group? That would be monstrous.
What: Second major of 2019
Where: Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.
TV: 12-6:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday (TNT); 1-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (CBS3)
Defending champion: Brooks Koepka