1st, T6, T13, 1st, T39, 1st, T2, 1st, 2nd.
Brooks Keopka’s last nine standings in major competition make for exceptional reading. During this period of dominance the American superstar has been triumphant four times, and this year hasn't finished outside of the top-two in major showings.
Koepka, unsurprisingly the World No.1, has bagged two US Opens and two PGA Championships during this incredible streak, but has yet to get his mitts on the Claret Jug, something he will be bidding to change this week in his sixth appearance at golf’s oldest major tournament.
Koepka, the ante-post favourite to scoop his fifth major in just three seasons, has a not so secret weapon up his sleeve this week over at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush.
“Luckily my caddie has played this golf course I can’t tell you how many times, so that’s a big advantage,” Koepka said on Tuesday.
“Every hole I just step up on, ‘You tell me what to do, you’ve played it more than anybody.’ So just let him figure it out.”
The caddie in question is Ricky Elliott who has been a permanent fixture by Koepka’s side since 2013. The 42-year-old grew up in Portrush, and is something of an expert having accumulated a multitude of rounds at Dunluce links’ Championship course, the best of which is a 65. Koepka will therefore be drinking in Elliot’s buckets of experience and knowledge ahead of Thursday’s showcase spectacle.
Asked in his press conference what it would be like to win The Open with Elliot as his caddie, a relaxed Koepka replied:
“They’d be nothing cooler. Put it this way, when he [Elliot] grew up I don’t think he ever expected there to be an Open Championship here [Portrush], and to top it off I don’t think he ever thought he’d be a part of it. But to be caddie and to be able to win one [major] here would make him a legend.”
When you think of fruitful player-and-caddie combinations, the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Angelo Argea (44 wins), Tiger Woods and Steve Williams (13 majors together), and Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunesson all spring to mind. Elliot and Koepka are rapidly becoming their generation’s ultimate powerhouse tag-team.
Earlier this week, Koepka lifted the lid on why the duo’s partnership is so successful.
“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.”
The Telegraph reports that Elliot’s bank account has swelled by $2million since he joined forces with Koepka in 2013. The Ulster Boys and Ulster Youth champion grew up with 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell, and it was Gmac who recommended his friend to Keopka in 2013. Six years later and the pair have reaped the rewards, moving from the second-string European Challenge Tour to multiple major success.
Elliot has been an integral factor in Koepka's stupendous rise to the summit of the sport. Four majors are already nestled in the trophy cabinet, and given Elliot’s a Portrush native, it would surprise few that come Sunday Koepka had sprung up to five major successes, alongside some pretty esteemed company in Phil Michelson and Seve Ballesteros.
Koepka tees off at 1:04 pm on Thursday, where he will be joined by 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and India’s Shubhankar Sharma.