How Scottie Scheffler Convinced Ted Scott to Help Him Win the WM Open
Scottie Scheffler heard that Bubba Watson and caddie Ted Scott had parted ways in the fall. So, he figured it was worth a call to see what Scott, who had been on the bag for Watson’s two Masters victories and double-digit wins, planned to do next. After all, it’s not every day that a veteran caddie with Scott’s resume becomes available.
Scheffler, 25, and Scott had met in bible study a year earlier. Scheffler got to know him best during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April when Scheffler partnered with Watson in the two-man team event.
“I already thought the world of him as a person,” Scheffler said.
The Phone Call
Scott said he thought he was done with caddying, but that changed when his phone rang.
“He called me up and said, ‘I really want to work with a Christian.’ That’s how I try to live my life,” Scott said on Sunday. “The other thing he said was, ‘I really like competing.’ I said, ‘I like competing.’ Thought it could be a fun thing. We hashed out the details.”
They did a trial run at the RSM Classic in November. Scheffler shot 63 in the first round. Scheffler finished second at the Hero World Challenge in December. In just their fifth tournament together, Scott paid his biggest dividend last week at the WM Phoenix Open as Scheffler rallied on the back-nine and outlasted Patrick Cantlay to claim his first PGA Tour title.
Moving On Up
Scheffler, who sat at No. 9, moved into the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time this week. How he hadn’t won already was mystifying.
“I do think I was making it a little bit hard,” Scheffler conceded on Tuesday during his pre-tournament press conference ahead of the Genesis Invitational. “I think at certain points in some of those final rounds I’d make a few mistakes and maybe get down a little bit. I wouldn’t say I felt out of it last week, but I just kept telling myself there’s going to be bumps in the road and I gave myself on Sunday way too many bumps.”
Scott’s calming influence came in handy earlier in the week. Scheffler struggled to a 68-71 start that had him hovering around the cutline.
“I kept telling Teddy on Thursday and Friday I was scoring really poorly but I was playing fantastic golf, my swing felt great, short game felt good, putting felt good, everything felt really good and I was only 3 under,” he said. “I was really fighting the cut line on Friday afternoon. I had to make like a six- or seven-footer on 7 for par to stay at 2 under, which was the cut line. Then I ended up making like a 40-footer for birdie on 8 to get to 3 under, and got up and down on 9 because I thought the cut line was going to be at 3 under.”
Scott could tell that Scheffler didn’t require a big pep talk.
“There were a couple decent moments early in the week where he kept me loose,” Scheffler said of Scott. “He makes me laugh at moments when I definitely don’t want to.”
No Slowing Down
On Sunday, Scheffler didn’t let the bumps in the road slow him down.
“I always viewed it as I had to play kind of this perfect version of golf,” said Scheffler, who made four bogeys on Sunday, including three in a four-hole stretch on the front nine at TPC Scottsdale. “If you would have told me a year ago that I would be making those kind of mistakes and been able to still win the golf tournament, I would have been pretty surprised, but I guess I proved a little bit to myself that it doesn’t take perfect golf and it’s more about coming back from the mistakes than it is just kind of cruising the entire time.
“I think I made like four bogeys and they were all kind of bogeys where maybe I was trying to force a little something. Like I tried to force something on 8 after making a bogey on 7. I tried to force it close to the flag on 5 when I wasn’t comfortable with the yardage. Then on 12 I really tried to make a good swing, but once again I short-sided myself. I didn’t really let those bogeys bother me as much as I would have in the past,” Scheffler said.
On 14, Scheffler’s drive kicked into a funky lie, but he slashed it to 8 feet and made the birdie putt. “I can’t believe we still have a chance to win this golf tournament,” he said to Scott.
No Backing Down
What impressed Scott most was the way Scheffler didn’t back down. On 15, Scheffler hit a low 5-iron into the green at the par 5 and Scott, said of it, “The way he’s attacking, I was like he’s ready to win this thing.”
There was a celebratory dinner on Sunday with his wife, Meredith, and her brother and his fiancée and watching the end of the Super Bowl. Scheffler is ready to get back to work at a place where he won an exemption into the tournament in 2018 while competing for Texas in the Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase. The real victory party will wait until he gets home to Dallas.
“Meredith always, she asks me what I wanted to do after my first win and we’ve got a little something planned for at home,” Scheffler said. “There’s a really good meat market in town that I like and I’m going to go get a bunch of steaks and grill them for our friends and family and then just have a good time at our new house.”
This article originally appeared on Golfweek.