AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Ted Scott retired last fall. He was done with golf, ready to do something else, probably teach the game. And when Scottie Scheffler called asking for the veteran caddy to work for him, the answer wasn’t easy.
Scott was really torn. He told his family to pray over it for a week. They did, and they told him to accept Scheffler’s offer. It still wasn’t convincing enough; Scott told the family to pray for another week. Nobody changed their mind.
Finally, he let Scheffler know that the decision had been made.
“I didn’t choose it,” Scott said Sunday evening, the sunlight falling on Augusta National, a few tears streaming 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 new Masters champion, clearly the one ahead of everyone else in the game right now, and it’s all come together for him since Scott – for some reason – decided retirement could wait.
“He knows this golf course so well,” Scheffler said. “I trust him so much on this golf course.”
Scott has now been part of three Masters victories as a caddy. He was on Bubba Watson’s bag for the titles in 2012 and 2014. When he and Watson amicably parted ways last fall, Scott didn’t expect him to be back at Augusta National.
He found himself the last caddy to leave the course, the champion’s bag slung over his shoulder, the flag of the 18th green still in the other hand. Caddies often take the flag with them; Scott took the whole pin and had no intention of returning it.
“I’m honored to be part of the team, honestly,” Scott said. “I mean, I never hit a shot. Watching these guys so closely is the coolest thing. To be able to walk to 18 and six putts or whatever number of putts we had and still hold this thing is pretty amazing. I feel super lucky to be part of it. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
Most caddies carry credit the same way Scott does. It’s not about them, they say. He is not the first and will not be the last to point out that the player hits the shots and the caddy is just there for the ride. All true.
But Scott also knows a lot about being the best in a competitive world. He’s a former world champion in foosball — yes, foosball, the game of table football. He decided one day that he wanted to learn an instrument and taught himself to play the piano. He’s somewhere around a 5 handicap. The book on Scott is this: when he commits to something, it’s a total commitment.
And that’s why he might have initially been wary of working with Scheffler. But what really sold him to Scheffler was that golf wasn’t the most important thing in the 25-year-old’s life. Scheffler talks openly about his love for the family. It talks about faith, something that is also dear to Scott. Scheffler might actually get more excited about board game competitions with friends than anything happening on the golf course.
Both just clicked. Scheffler now has four career wins, all in the past two months, all with Scott working with him.
“Ted just did an amazing job,” said Scott Scheffler, the Masters champion’s father.
Scott wasn’t the first caddy 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., although this all happened when the caddies were provided by Augusta National. Players could only bring their own in 1983.
It has also happened in modern times. Steve Williams was on the bag for Tiger Woods’ first three Masters wins, then was with Adam Scott for his Augusta National win in 2013. Joe LaCava caddyed for Fred Couples in 1992, then was with Woods for his fifth triumph in Masters, in 2019. .
Scott becomes the fifth caddy 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 returns to the Masters next year as defending champion. Scott expects to be by her side again.
“I guess I’m going to have to keep working,” Scott said.
Just then, a member of Augusta National approached Scott and let him know that Scheffler was about to slip the green jacket over his shoulders for the first time.
“Do you want to go see them put a green jacket on him?” Scott asked.
“Absolutely,” he said.
With that, the pin of 18 still in his hand, Scott raced back to the course. The retreat was the other way around.
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