Brooks Koepka's Irish caddie Ricky Elliott to enter millionaire club and join Irish sport's list of big earners
Portrush caddie Ricky Elliott could become one Irish golf's highest earners this season and pocket more than $1m (€880,000) after helping Brooks Koepka win three Majors in 14 months.
If the former Boys and Youths international picked up the traditional caddie's 10pc cut of Koepka's $1.98m US PGA and $2.16m US Open wins, plus a smaller percentages of the American's $6.4m earnings this year, he's already more than $500,000 richer.
With the FedEx Cup playoffs to come, Elliott (41) could yet match Rory McIlroy's ex-caddie 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 Pádraig Harrington just $93,260, Elliott could finish well up the Irish "money list".
He’s 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’s charge. “It was pretty 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 right from the start.
“His two heroes were coming after him. If he was home watching on TV he’d be rooting for them if he wasn’t playing. He never flinched. I’m there clubbing him and he’s like it is Thursday afternoon.”
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 going around 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 much.”
A birdie at the 15th restored Koepka’s lead and Elliott admits he was blown away by the rocket-like four-iron to the six feet at the 237-yard 16th that doubled his lead.
“It was just a laser,” Elliott said. “The four-iron never left the stick.”
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,” he said.