Lake Nona resident and caddie Ricky Elliott feels lucky to have been able to play golf the last few weeks during this COVID-19 pandemic.
The former junior and amateur standout player from Portrush, Northern Ireland won four titles in his younger days before getting into caddying these past 15 years. Those titles include the Irish Under 18 Boys Amateur Open, Ulster Under 18 Boys Amateur Open, Leinster Under 21 Amateur Open Championship and the Ulster Under 21 Open Championship.
“Since the start of caddying I haven’t really played much golf,” Elliott says, “so that’s actually been one positive out of (this break) I actually started to get my golf game back in a little bit of shape which is really nice.”
Elliott figures he played more golf in the month of April than he did in the past seven years. He was averaging about four rounds per year since he began looping for four-time major winner Brooks Koepka in 2013. The looper was playing very little of his own golf by choice.
RELATED: Ricky Elliott remembers ‘crazy’ year on Brooks Koepka’s bag, including a win at the PGA and a memorable major at home in Portrush
“I think it’s a little bit to do with because I was playing at such a high level, and then when I started caddying my game dropped off, I was just never really interested, because the competition had left after I was doing mini Tours. It just didn’t really interest me to go out there and just play to a low standard. I’d rather go to sleep at night thinking about Brooks’ game rather than my own. It’s easier to sleep,” Elliott laughs.
The standard he’s found with his iron game these days isn’t, understandably, at the level of his boss, but who’s really keeping track?
“There’s no pressure out there and it’s quite easy to club myself,” Elliott laughs of his rounds today with friends. “I get the number and think ‘what would Brooks hit?’ and then I hit two more clubs and it’s perfect. So whenever I go back working for him again I’m going to start thinking ‘so what would I hit?’ and then take two clubs off of it. Just throw it into reverse.”
Must be nice to get out and get a breath of fresh air that we as golfers all crave these days.
“I started really enjoying it again, just to be able to go and hang out with a few lads for three or four hours and play a game that you ultimately love,” Elliott said. “I obviously lost the love of me playing it but I’m starting to find it again a little bit. It’s just nice to be able to have the opportunity to do that. I feel very fortunate that I’m able to do that here with the weather being so good.”
So if Elliott’s rediscovering his passion for playing the game, how interested would he be in eventually getting his own caddie?
Of course, in his typical self-deprecating humor he quipped, “Eight percent of nothing is not very much.”
Elliott’s been playing with some buddies who work for different airlines who are also temporarily out of work due to the pandemic.
“Obviously we’re social distancing and taking the whole thing seriously, it’s just good for the mind to get out there with a little fresh air,” Elliott said. “And I feel pretty fortunate to be able to do that.”