Belfast Telegraph

Watch: How I kept Brooks Koepka in right mentality to block out Tiger Woods and win PGA Championship, explains Portrush caddy Ricky Elliott

 

By Brian Keogh

Portrush caddy Ricky Elliott could become one of Irish golf's highest earners this season and pocket more than $1m (£783k) after helping Brooks Koepka win three Majors in 14 months.

If the former Boys and Youths international picked up the traditional caddie's 10% cut of Koepka's $1.98m US PGA and $2.16m US Open wins, plus smaller percentages of the American's $6.4m earnings this year, he's already more than $500k richer.

With the FedEx Cup play-offs to come, Elliott (41) could yet match Rory McIlroy's ex-caddy JP Fitzgerald, who reportedly received $1m after the Holywood star won the $10m FedEx Cup bonus in 2016.

McIlroy is Irish golf's top earner on the PGA Tour this year with $3.6m, but with Shane Lowry picking up $696,890, Paul Dunne $297,938 and Padraig Harrington just $93,260, Elliott could finish well up the Irish "money list".

Elliott is still pinching himself after watching Koepka come back from four months on the sidelines with a wrist injury to win two of the three Majors he's played this year.

Not even boyhood heroes Tiger Woods or Adam Scott could intimidate the Floridian, Elliott said.

"We didn't mention it at all," he said of Woods' charge. "It was evident what Tiger was doing. We always felt someone was going to make a run. Our plan was to play like we were behind and stay aggressive.

"In our mind, someone was going to get to 14, 15, 16 under so we had to play like we were behind.

"His two heroes were coming after him. If he was home watching on TV he'd be rooting for them. He never flinched."

Elliott admitted he had to prompt Koepka to step on the gas as Scott drew level with six holes to go and Woods got to within one.

"After he missed a few putts and we heard all the roars and Tiger pulled within one, I said, 'You've got to push the button. You've got to get going. Your putts are going to start falling'. It was nothing really."

Now a US citizen, Elliott admitted he was worried when Koepka was forced to sit out the first four months of the year with a wrist injury but reckons he's now a strong player because of that.

"He took some time off and there really wasn't any timetable for him to come back," added the Portrush man.

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