Last Updated: 16/07/19 5:35pm
Brooks Koepka and his caddie Ricky Elliott assess the conditions during a practice round ahead of The Open at Royal Portrush
Brooks Koepka will be bidding to win his fifth major in 10 attempts at The 148th Open and he has an added incentive to triumph at Royal Portrush this week.
The American’s caddie Ricky Elliott, who he has been with for six years, was born and raised in Portrush and the world No 1 admits it would be great to win the tournament for the 41-year-old in his hometown.
“There would be nothing cooler,” said Koepka. “Put it this way, I don’t think when he grew up that he ever thought there would be an Open Championship here.
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“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 – he’d be a legend, wouldn’t he? He already is. But it would be cool to see him win.
“I probably hear more, ‘Ricky, hey, Ricky, what’s going on?’ than anything. I’m sure he’ll have quite a bit of friends and family out. It will be a special week for him, for sure.”
Elliott has been with Koepka for six years
Elliott was a good golfer in his own right, who competed regularly against the likes of Graeme McDowell, and Koepka hopes his local knowledge can help him win The Open for the first time.
“Luckily my caddie has played this golf course, I can’t tell you how many times, so that’s a big advantage,” added Koepka, who has won both the US Open and the PGA Championship twice alongside Elliott.
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“Every hole I just step up on, [I say] you tell me what to do, you’ve played it more than anybody. So just let him figure it out. He knows his spots to miss it. The spots to come in from, with different hole locations and different winds.
“I will definitely have a little bit more confidence having him on the bag this week, knowing this golf course so well.
Koepka hopes Elliott’s local knowledge will be a big help
“He’s been great. He keeps it light. He knows not to talk about golf while we’re out there. He knows if I’m getting a little bit tense, maybe upset, angry, whatever it is, he can tell just by my walk. He can tell, just body language and I think that’s what makes a great caddie. They can kind of tell you, a lot of times he’ll tell me to slow down, slow my walk.
“And then under pressure he knows exactly what to say at the right time, and that’s what you want in a caddie. And I wouldn’t want anybody else on my bag, I know that.
“He’s been tremendous. He’s part of the reason why I’ve had the success I’ve had. And I love the guy to death. And looking forward to many years to come.”