Brooks Koepka credited his right-hand-man and caddie, Ricky Elliott for the pivotal role he played in carrying the American to a fifth Major success at Oak Hill on Sunday.
Koepka claimed his third Wanamaker Trophy in the manner he picked off his first two, beating the field into submission in an all-out display of power and control that propels Koepka’s reputation to even greater heights.
It wasn’t that long ago that Koepka doubted if he’d ever add to his tally of four. Plagued by injury, the 33-year old’s resolve was never more tested but stood by his side through thick and thin was Portrush bagman Elliott, clearly in no doubt that he’d backed the right horse to reach the heights of old once more.
“Yeah, Rick, it’s kind of funny because Rick, I forced him to come out when Dr. Elattrache was doing surgery,” Koepka said.
“No one wanted to come with me. My brother [Chase] was playing The Honda Classic. My parents were staying there. Jena [wife] just had surgery on her ankle, so she couldn’t fly out there. So I made Rick come, and Rick spent probably 2, 2 1/2 weeks with me out in L.A.
“Yeah, I feel bad for him that he was stuck with me there for awhile. He was tired of me; I was tired of him. I don’t know if he gets enough credit for being as good of a caddie as he is. Caddying is a lot about reading the people, reading your player, knowing what they are going to do before they even do it and kind of sense the moment of what to say, what not to say.
“Honestly, I thought he’s one of the best for a long time, and I don’t think he gets enough credit, maybe even from me.”
Elliott’s value was on full show when talking Koepka out of anything silly on the penultimate hole of the tournament. Koepka had splayed his tee-shot into the trees on the right and although he indicated a possible route to the green, Elliott urged his man to chip out with shots in hand, taking any big numbers out of play.
It’s ten years since the pair first got together at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 2013, the journey coming full circle a decade later in Rochester. Now five Majors on, the perfect partnership shows no signs of stopping with Elliott a key component in Koepka’s killer mentality right from day one.
“I probably learned the most the last time I was here in 2013 when I played with Tiger on Sunday,” Koepka recalled.
“That was interesting. I spent nine holes watching him. I’ve done that my entire life. Grew up watching the guy, and Ricky’s first week caddying for me, he told me to stop watching him.
“But it just natural what you do; right? I grew up in the Tiger era. I loved watching the guy. It’s just naturally what I did for the first nine holes and then it got better.”
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