AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP)Ted Scott was retiring last fall. He was done with golf, ready to do something else, probably teach the game. And when Scottie Scheffler called to ask the veteran caddie to work for him, an answer didn’t come easily.
Scott was truly torn. He told his family to pray on it for a week. They did, and they told him to take Scheffler’s offer. That still wasn’t convincing enough; Scott told the family to pray for another week. Nobody’s mind was changed.
Finally, he let Scheffler know the decision had been made.
”I didn’t choose it,” Scott said Sunday evening, sunlight falling over Augusta National, a couple of tears running down his face.
This job, this golfer, this moment, this Masters victory – in Scott’s eyes, it was all chosen for him. Scheffler is the No. 1 player in the world, the newly minted Masters champion, clearly the one ahead of everyone else in the game right now, and all that has come together for him since Scott – for whatever reason – decided that retirement could wait.
”He just knows this golf course so well,” Scheffler said. ”I trust him so much on this golf course.”
Scott now has been part of three Masters wins as a caddie. He was on Bubba Watson’s bag for titles in 2012 and 2014. When he and Watson parted amicably last fall, Scott never expected that he would be back at Augusta National.
He wound up as the last caddie to leave the course, the champion’s bag slung over one shoulder, the flagstick from the 18th green still in his other hand. Caddies often take the flag with them; Scott took the whole pin and had no intention of giving it back.
”I’m humbled to be a part of the team, honestly,” Scott said. ”I mean, I’ve never hit a shot. Watching these guys this close is the coolest thing. To be able to walk up 18 and six-putt or however many putts we had and still hold this thing is pretty amazing. I feel super fortunate to be a part of it. And I couldn’t be more grateful about it.”
Most caddies defer credit in the same way that Scott does. It’s not about them, they say. He’s not the first and won’t be the last to point out that the player hits the shots, and that the caddie is just along for the walk. All true.
But Scott also knows plenty about being the best in a competitive world. He’s a former foosball world champion – yes, foosball, the tabletop soccer game. He decided one day that he wanted to learn an instrument and taught himself how to play the piano. He is somewhere around a 5 handicap. The book on Scott is this: When he commits to something, it’s a full commitment.
And that’s why he might have been leery at first to work with Scheffler. But what really sold him on Scheffler was that golf wasn’t the absolute biggest thing in the 25-year-old’s life. Scheffler talks openly about his love for family. He speaks about faith, something that Scott holds dear as well. Scheffler might actually get more fired up about board-game competitions with friends than he does with anything that happens on the golf course.
The two just clicked. Scheffler now has four career wins, all in the last two months, all with Scott working with him.
”Ted has just done an unbelievable job,” said Scott Scheffler, the Masters champion’s father.
Scott wasn’t the first caddie to carry a bag for multiple Masters winners. Willie ”Pappy” Stokes was with four of them – Henry Picard, Claude Harmon, Ben Hogan and Jack Burke Jr., though all that came in the era when caddies were provided by Augusta National. Players couldn’t bring their own until 1983.
It’s happened in modern times as well. Steve Williams was on the bag for three of Tiger Woods’ Masters wins, then was with Adam Scott for his victory at Augusta National in 2013. Joe LaCava caddied for Fred Couples in 1992, then was with Woods for his fifth Masters triumph, in 2019.
”I can’t speak highly enough of Ted as a person and as a caddie,” Scheffler said. ”I respect him so much just as a person. He’s such a fun guy to be around. He’s a man of faith and I love him. I can’t say enough about him. You know, the qualities you look for in a person, Ted embodies pretty much all of them. He’s humble. He’s hard-working. He’s honest. He’s a good time to be around.”
Scott becomes the fifth caddie to be part of at least three Masters wins. Stokes won five, including two with Hogan. Willie Peterson had the bag for the first five of Jack Nicklaus’ six Masters wins. Nathaniel Avery – they called him ”Iron Man” – won four times with Arnold Palmer. And Williams has four wins, three with Woods and then the other with Scott.
Scheffler is returning to the Masters next year as the defending champion. Scott expects to be right there alongside him again.
”I guess I’m going to have to keep working,” Scott said.
Right around that moment, an Augusta National member approached Scott and let him know that Scheffler was about to have the green jacket slipped over his shoulders for the first time.
”Want to go see them put a green jacket on him?” Scott was asked.
”Absolutely,” he said.
With that, the pin from 18 still in his hand, Scott took off running back toward the course. Retirement was in the other direction.
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