Wednesday 21 August 2019

Short chips: Koepka taps into local knowledge

 

Brooks Koepka and his caddie Ricky Elliott share a joke during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Brooks Koepka and his caddie Ricky Elliott share a joke during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Brooks Koepka reckons his Portrush-born caddie Ricky Elliott would become a local "legend" if they rack up a fifth Major win in 10 starts.

The Floridian, who retained the US PGA at Bethpage before finishing second in his bid for a hat-trick of US Open wins at Pebble Beach, admits Elliott's local knowledge is worth its weight in gold.

"Every hole I just step up on, I say, 'You tell me what to do, you've played it more than anybody'," Koepka said.

"He's been tremendous. He's part of the reason why I've had the success I've had. "

Elliott gave Koepka a tour of the town, including the Harbour Bar, and his childhood home and the American knows winning would be extra special for his wing man.

"Put it this way, I don't think when he grew up that he ever thought there would be an Open Championship here," Koepka said. "And to top it off, I don't think he 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?"

Early starters get dry run

The Irish summer will be back with a bang at Royal Portrush today with breezy conditions and outbreaks of rain and drizzle expected through much of the day.

The rain is expected to clear during the early evening but short-lived bursts of heavy rain are forecast for tomorrow afternoon in the first round.

The early starters could get the best of it, which is good news for Darren Clarke and James Sugrue (06.35), Pádraig Harrington (07.30), Shane Lowry (07.52), Graeme McDowell (09.14) and Rory McIlroy (10.09).

Rose is bowled over

Justin Rose's 10-year-old son Leo is only interested in playing cricket this week and that's all right by the Englishman as he seeks his second Major.

"He has gone cricket-mad, after the World Cup," said Rose, who has his family in tow this week. "Having your family around helps you stay loose and free."

Irish Independent

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