Friday 6 December 2019

Koepka counting on Ricky

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka may be a four-time major winner and world number one, but for the only time in his career he is playing second-fiddle to his caddie this week.

Ricky Elliott hails from Portrush and Koepka hopes his local knowledge of the course will give him an advantage on a links which has not hosted the Open since 1951.

Such is Elliott's perceived inside track that even 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, a man known for being solitary and single-minded in his preparations, tried to piggyback on his wisdom.

"I texted Brooksky and I said, 'Mind if I tag along and play a practice round?," Woods said.

"I've heard nothing."

Koepka is wise to keep Elliott's counsel to himself, even if he is the most in-form golfer on the planet right now.

But Elliott's presence on the fairways this week means Koepka is walking slightly in his shadow, with the American himself even talking about how great it would be for the 41-year-old bagman to win in his home town.

"I probably hear more, 'Ricky, hey, Ricky, what's going on?' than anything," said the current USPGA champ ion, who has been with Elliott for six years.

"I'm sure he'll have quite a bit of friends and family out. It will be a special week for him, for sure."

Asked if his caddie was enjoying the attention, Koepka added: "He has to be. He has to be.

"I don't think when he grew up that he ever thought there would be an Open Championship here and to top it off, I don't think he ever thought he'd be a part of it.

"And to be caddying and to be able to win one here would be - he'd be a legend, wouldn't he? He already is. But it would be cool to see him win.

"I wouldn't want anybody else on my bag."

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