CALIFORNIA’S PACIFIC PALISADES – When Scottie Scheffler learned that Bubba Watson and caddie Ted Scott had split up in the fall, he decided to give Scott a call to see what he planned to do next. Scott had been on the bag for Watson’s two Masters victories and double-digit victories. After all, a senior caddy with Scott’s resume doesn’t come along every day.
Scott, 25, and Scheffler, 25, met a year ago at bible study, and Scheffler got to know him best during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April, when Scheffler competed in the two-man team event with Watson.
“As a human, I already thought the world of him,” Scheffler added.
Scott stated that he thought he was done with caddying until his phone rang.
“He called and said, ‘I really want to work with a Christian,’ and I agreed. On Sunday, Scott stated, “That’s how I strive to live my life.” “He also mentioned, ‘I really enjoy competing.'” ‘I enjoy competing,’ I answered. I thought it might be entertaining. We worked out the specifics.”
In November, they gave it a try at the RSM Classic. In the first round, Scheffler shot a 63. In December, Scheffler came in second place at the Hero World Challenge. Scott’s biggest payoff came last week at the WM Phoenix Open, where Scheffler fought on the back nine to beat Patrick Cantlay and win his first PGA Tour championship.
It was perplexing that Scheffler, who rose to No. 9 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time this week, hadn’t already won.
“I believe I was making it a little bit difficult,” Scheffler admitted during his Genesis Invitational pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday. “I imagine I’d make a couple of mistakes in some of those final rounds and maybe get down a little bit.” I didn’t feel out of it last week, but I kept telling myself that there will be bumps in the road, and I gave myself way too many obstacles on Sunday.”
Scheffler struggled to a 68-71 start earlier in the week, hanging around the cutline. Scott’s soothing influence came in helpful.
“On Thursday and Friday, I kept telling Teddy that I was scoring pretty poorly but that I was playing terrific golf, that my swing felt great, that my short game felt good, that my putting felt good, that everything felt really good, and I was only 3 under,” he said. “On Friday afternoon, I was really fighting the cut line. I needed to hit a six- or seven-footer for par on 7 to stay under par, which was the cut line. Then on 8, I made a 40-footer for birdie to get to 3 under, and on 9, I got up and down because I assumed the cut line would be at 3 under.”
Scott could tell Scheffler didn’t need much encouragement.
“He kept me loose for a couple of decent moments early in the week,” Scheffler said of Scott. “He manages to make me laugh even when I don’t want to.”
Scheffler didn’t let the bumps in the road slow him down on Sunday.
Scheffler, who made four bogeys on Sunday, including three in a four-hole span on the front nine at TPC Scottsdale, said, “I always viewed it as I had to play kind of this pristine version of golf.” “I would have been startled a year ago if you told me I could make those kinds of mistakes and still win the golf event, but I guess I showed a little bit to myself that it doesn’t take perfect golf and it’s more about coming back from mistakes than it is about cruising the entire time.”
“I think I made four bogeys, all of which were bogeys where I was attempting to force a little something.” After hitting a bogey on 7, I tried to force something on 8. When I wasn’t happy with the yardage on 5, I tried to force it near to the flag. Then on 12, I tried really hard to make a good swing, but I short-sided myself again. “I didn’t allow those bogeys upset me as much as they used to,” Scheffler explained.
Scheffler’s shot on 14 landed in a strange lay, but he cut it to 8 feet and made the birdie putt. He told Scott, “I can’t believe we still have a chance to win this golf game.”
Scott was most struck by Scheffler’s refusal to give up. “The way he’s attacking, I felt like he’s ready to win this thing,” Scott said of Scheffler’s low 5-iron into the par 5 green on 15.
After a joyful supper with his wife, Meredith, and her brother and his fiancée on Sunday, Scheffler is eager to return to work at a site where he earned an exemption into the event in 2018 while competing for Texas in the Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase. The true celebration will have to wait till he returns to Dallas.
“Meredith usually asks me what I want to do after my first win,” Scheffler said. “We’ve got a little surprise planned for at home.” “There’s a really fantastic meat shop in town that I enjoy, so I’m going to grab a bunch of steaks and grill them for our friends and family, then relax in our new house.”