Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Brooks Koepka relies on caddie's insight to win British Open - and blanks Tiger Woods

World No 1 looks to extend his remarkable recent record at the majors when he tees off at Royal Portrush

Brooks Koepka and caddie Ricky Elliott during a practice round at Royal Portrush ahead of the British Open. Press Association 
Brooks Koepka and caddie Ricky Elliott during a practice round at Royal Portrush ahead of the British Open. Press Association 

Brooks Koepka said he is putting complete faith in caddie Ricky Elliot's insider knowledge of Royal Portrush to lead him to victory at the British Open this week, although the world No 1 was keen not to share any insight with Tiger Woods.

Koepka arrives in Northern Ireland boasting a remarkable recent record at the majors, having won on two of his last four major appearances, while finishing runner-up in the other two.

The 29-year-old American, who claimed his fourth major title at the PGA Championship in May, will be expecting to improve on his previous best British Open finish of tied-sixth.

Despite having never visited Northern Ireland before, Koepka is not having too many difficulties getting to grips with the Royal Portrush layout, as Elliott knows the course inside out.

"I definitely have a little bit more confidence having him on the bag this week, knowing this golf course so well. But I'm looking forward to it," Koepka said.

"Every hole I just step up on, 'You tell me what to do, you've played it more than anybody'. So just let him figure it out. He knows his spots to miss it. The spots to come in from, with different hole locations and different winds."

Three-time Open champion Woods admitted he had been hoping to tap into Elliott's course knowledge by playing a practice round with Koepka.

"I texted Brooksie, 'congratulations on another great finish'. What he's done in the last four major championships has been just unbelievable," said the 15-time major winner.

"And I said, 'Hey, dude, do you mind if I tag along and play a practice round?' I've heard nothing."

Koepka's record in golf's big four tournaments is made even more remarkable by the fact he has won only two other regular PGA Tour events, the Phoenix Open in 2015 and the CJ Cup in South Korea last year.

But Koepka says there is a perfectly simple explanation to his success.

"I just practise before the majors. Regular tournaments I don't practise," he said.

"If you've seen me on TV, that's when I play golf. On Wednesday was the first time I touched a club in, what, 10 days. That happens week in and week out. And majors I like to play the week before and find a rhythm, build a rhythm."

Koepka has often been left bewildered by a perceived lack of media interest in his achievements, and he questioned why he barely featured in an advert for the US Open earlier this year despite being the two-time defending champion.

But he now says despite keeping his "chip on the shoulder", he is just focusing on adding to his already impressive major tally.

"Like I said, over the last year and a half, I just felt like if other guys had done what I had done it would be a bigger deal," he said. "Now it doesn't matter to me. I've got my own chip on my shoulder for what I'm trying to accomplish."

Updated: July 16, 2019 05:39 PM

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