It was a weekend to forget for all the Irish and Northern Irish golfers. The US Open had left them all leaving Erin Hills feeling somewhat defeated and disappointed. However, one Northern Ireland man had just cause to smile. Portrush-born caddy, Ricky Elliott, won a $200,000 (£158,000) share of the bounty when Koepka equalled the tournament’s lowest winning score to claim his first major.
Ricky has only been Koepka’s caddy for 5 years now but has always been surrounded by golf from a very young age. As a leading youth player at the Royal Portrush, he won boys’ titles including the Ulster Boys’ Championship and the Ulster Youth Championship. He then spent four years on a scholarship at the University of Toledo in Ohio, where he helped the Rockets qualify for the 1999 NCAA Championships. Ricky spent a couple of years in the mini tour golf circuit and realising he didn’t have the game to make it as a tour pro, he took up an assistant professional’s post at Lake Nona in Orlando, home to his friends Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter. After caddying for Maarten Lafeber, he took up the bag for 2003 Open champion Ben Curtis and has now been caddying for Koepka ever since.
He admitted the victory was a dream come true for someone with a lifelong love of the game. “I love the competition of the golf and if you can’t do it yourself this is the next best thing. It is nice to be in the fortunate position to caddy for somebody who is so good, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.” Ricky had first caddied for Koepka in 2013 for what was supposed to be a one-off and when the opportunity arose to caddy full time, he didn’t think twice. He has nothing but praise for his partner and feels this victory is only the beginning. “He is a Major player; he hits it long, he does everything, he chips it well, he putts it well. Statistically, he should be contending in these things, and it is just about crossing the line for him, and he did it.” We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this pairing.