Ricky Elliott has caddied for all four of Brooks Koepka's most important triumphs in the last two years
Ricky Elliott immediately knew Brooks Koepka's something special, but admits he could never have imagined how good he would be.
Northern Irishman Elliott, from Portrush, started caddy for Koepka during the 2013 US PGA Championship and the pair has since worked together, during which time Koepka won four major titles and 25 million US dollar prize money on the PGA Tour and world number became one.
After successfully defending the American PGA title on Bethpage on Sunday, Koepka goes to Pebble Beach next month in search of a third consecutive US Open victory – an achievement previously achieved by Scotsman Willie Anderson of 1903 until 1905
The 29-year-old American will then be heavily dependent on local knowledge of Elliott, since the Open Championship is being staged for the first time since 1951 in the city of his caddy.
"I played a lot of growing up there, but Brooks hits the ball differently than the lines I hit it on," said Elliott, who is good friends with another resident of the Portrush tribe, the former US Open Champion Graeme McDowell
"I will have to work on my distance book for Brooks that it plays, but a little local knowledge of course doesn't hurt.
" Brooks has a large following in Portrush, probably by me, so he will be well supported and I think that Portrush will be set up well for him. "
Elliott a former Ulster Youths Champion
Elliott was a good golfer in his own law, won titles such as the Ulster Boys Championship and the Ulster Youth Championship and represented Ireland at the 1990 European Youths Championship.
After attending a golf scholarship at the University of Toledo, Elliott tried make it like a professional before accepting an assistant professional at Lake Nona in Orlando.
The 42-year-old eventually went to work in caddying and worked for the likes of 2003 Open champion Ben Curtis before the job that would change his life at the 2013 PGA in the United States.
"Claude Harmon coached Brooks and said he needed a caddy for Oak Hill," added Elliott.
"We made the cut and then, at the end of the week, Claude said, & # 39; do you feel like doing a few more? & # 39; and six years later … It has been fine
"The first exercise we played, I thought: & # 39; This guy is the real deal, he hits the ball incredibly & # 39 ;. There was just something about him. It is clear that you could never say that he would do this, but there was always something different about him. "
Elliott helped Koepka guide his first big win at the US Open in Erin Hills in 2017
Koepka makes a breakthrough at the 2017 US Open
Koepka won his first major at the 2017 US Open in Erin Hills and after he became the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to defend the title in Shinnecock Hills, he also won the 2018 US PGA at Bellerive.
Having finished second last month at Tiger Woods in the Masters, Koepka led from the start to finish at Bethpage despite a late wobble.
"What he has just done goes into history," added Elliott.
"He is just so calm, he clearly realizes that he is one of the better players here now and by coming to Erin Hills sort of stamped on him and his place in the game is now in stone.
"He is just one of the best players and to be honest he goes out there and thinks so. "
But while possessing total self-confidence, Koepka regularly seeks wise counsel from family and others in his area, says Elliott.
" He listens to people around him; he takes advice, likes to talk to other players, especially Graeme (McDowell) in the early days, and finds out what it takes to win a major and have a successful career. "
Raw support for Johnson fails at ruffle Koepka
Four successive bogeys in his early ninth on Sunday suddenly saw Koepka & # 39; s seemingly impregnable lead cut to one beat by fellow countryman and friend Dustin Johnson.
At that time the noisy New York bustle sang their support for Johnson, but Koepka soon gained control while his challenger with bogeyman at 16 and 17 limped. just block and keep talking between ourselves, "Elliott said about the hymns.
" I'm sure he heard. Of course, the crowd came out the whole weekend thinking that the event was over, people who didn't know golf, and suddenly they had a game on their hands late in the fourth quarter, so they clearly hoped for the underdogs. "
Koepka himself felt that the hymns helped him to concentrate again and there will be no chance of a repeat scenario in Portrush, where Elliott's connections will ensure that both men have sufficient support.
"I am excited to get there," said Koepka. That is a place I have never been to, which is shocking because I have been all over the world.
"It will be special for Ricky, it will be special for me, I am sure he will have his family, his mother and father will be out there, I think he will be staying with them that week.
"I think everyone in Ireland has been waiting for this for a long time."