Given his recent record in the major championships, the Open’s official engraver may be tempted to start gently chiselling the name Brooks Koepka on to the Claret Jug right now.

When it comes to golf’s biggest occasions, nobody rises to them quite like Koepka at the moment.

In the last 11 majors, the 29-year-old has four wins and four other top-six finishes. His record in the Masters, the US PGA and the US Open this season reads second, first, second. Pretty good, eh? Then again.

“It’s incredible but, at the same time, it’s been quite disappointing,” noted Koepka. “Finishing second sucks, it really does. I hold myself to high expectations. The whole reason I show up is to win.”

With just three top-10 finishes in 11 regular PGA Tour events in 2019, Koepka is not particularly a man for the humdrum, routine outings on the circuit. Only the majors stir the senses and rouse the spirits.


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He is a formidable piece of golfing weaponry and the Koepka armoury is bolstered by the presence of his caddie, Ricky Elliott.

As a Portrush native, Elliott, who was a handy player himself, knows so many ins, outs, bits and bobs about this, that and the other when it comes to the Dunluce links, he’s broadly equivalent to one of those Haynes Manuals that used to give you everything you needed to know about the inner workings of an Austin Allegro.

Elliott will be a huge helping hand here this week but his influence goes much wider.

On his rapid rise up the golfing order, Koepka missed the cut in his first two major appearances at the 2012 US Open and the 2013 Open.

Not long after that, he teamed up with Elliott. He’s not missed a cut since and has gone on that rousing run in the grand slam events.

“Ricky was the kind of light,” said Koepka. “The way he went about things was different to any caddie I’d ever had. The confidence behind what he thought the club might be, what the wind direction was or what the yardage was, he was dead sure in it.

“I was like ‘this is my guy’. Hopefully he doesn’t leave. But he’s not going to leave me for a long time.”

With his caddie’s connection to the town, Koepka admits his assault on the Claret Jug has been given added impetus.

“There would be nothing cooler [to win],” he said with drooling anticipation at the prospect of a first Open victory.


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“Put it this way, I don’t think Ricky would have thought there would be an Open here. And, to top it off, I don’t think he ever thought he’d be part of it.

“To be caddying and be able to win on here, well, he’d be a legend, wouldn’t he? He already is but it would be cool to see him win.”

Koepka and his American buddies are looking to complete a clean sweep of the majors for the first time since 1982 during a period when Seve Ballesteros was ploughing a lone furrow for Europe.

Koepka is sticking to the processes and procedures which have stood him in good stead on the tour this season, even if those aforementioned results in rank-and-file events have not been anything to shout about from the rooftops.

“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.

“I left the Travelers Championship [on June 23] and showed up on Tuesday night [July 2]. The Wednesday was the first time I touched a club in, what, 10 days?

“That happens week in and week out. With majors I like to play the week before and find a rhythm, so I got over here Friday and have practised.

“I want to play well in majors. And whether it comes, great; and if it doesn’t, well, I’m actually happy with my life right now.”

Koepka has every reason to be.