Golf

There's A Significant Irish Connection To Golf's Hottest Property

There's A Significant Irish Connection To Golf's Hottest Property

There was a time on Sunday night when some of us dared to believe that the PGA Championship was there for Shane Lowry. Ultimately, it wasn't to be, and American Brooks Koepka held of Tiger Wood to claim his third major in just over a year. While we may not have had the Irish winner we wanted, Ireland does play a major park in Koepka's remarkable story .

Ricky Elliott may never have made it as a pro himself, but he's been perhaps the most prolific Irish man in the world of golf over the past two seasons.

The 41 year-old Portrush native has been caddying for Koepka for half a decade, who's PGA Championship followed up his successful US Open defence in June.

It was the American's third major victory in the last 14 months, making him the first golfer to record such a feat since Padraig Harrington in 2008.

Entering the final round with a two shot cushion, he was put under severe pressure by a resurgent Tiger Woods who recorded his lowest ever score on the Sunday of a major.

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Speaking to The Caddie Network, Elliott says they were well aware of what was the competition were doing.

We heard the roars from all over the course. (Woods) was two groups in front, so he was kind of on the green when we were on the tee. We heard the roar from the green, and then we heard the roar from every leaderboard that was going up around the course. It was mental. To be honest, I would have loved to have been sitting on the couch watching it!

Koepka's position at the top of the leaderboard came under threat as they turned for the back nine, as Tiger's charge was coupled with pressure from playing partner Adam Scott.

Having major-winning experience allowed the pair to stick to their game, and that plan was simple: attack the golf course.

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.

Brooks had missed hit some good shots and missed a few short putts, and Scotty and Tiger were coming back into the thing.

We knew what was going on, but we realised that there were five or six holes to go, we had been in the lead the whole time and they had crept up beside us. But we kind of realised that we knew our time was going to come. He was able to hit a couple of good shots and holed a couple of good putts, and was able to come through in the end.

Elliott himself was a successful youth golfer at Royal Portrush, having won the Ulster Boys Open and Ulster Youth Championship in the 1990's, a time during which he also represented Ireland in the European Youth Championships.

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Despite now holding US citizenship, Elliott maintains his membership of the County Antrim golf course and still frequents the club when his schedule allows.

After his youth exploits he went on to play college golf with University of Toledo in Ohio, before entering the professional ranks as a player.

Having failed in his quest a pro, he turned to a career in caddying, taking over the bag of rising star Brooks Koepka in 2013.

This is actually our fifth year anniversary. It's been five years, and I've seen him come up through the stages and up through the world rankings. Now to win two majors in one year, as you know, is an incredible feat for anybody. Really it's just been the ride watching him improve. He hasn't changed at all, he's just the same guy as he always was.

It's incredible. You know, it's hard to put myself into his shoes in what he is doing and what he is thinking. He's an incredible chap, a good friend, and obviously a fantastic golfer.

Koepka's victory on Sunday has left him sitting atop of the US Ryder Cup standings, meaning we are sure to see an Irish representative on the American side in Paris come September.

 

SEE ALSO: Shane Lowry Irked By Officials Who 'Lacked Balls' To Make Decision

Gary Connaughton

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