Scottie Scheffler gets it done at WM Phoenix OpenBecomes third straight first-time winner on PGA TOUR
February 13, 2022
By Cameron Morfit , PGATOUR.COM
Scottie Scheffler wins in a playoff at WM Phoenix Open
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Ted Scott thought he was done as a caddie.
The Lafayette, Louisiana, resident had racked up double-digit wins over a long career carrying the bag for Paul Azinger and then, most famously, Bubba Watson. It had been a good run.
Then Scottie Scheffler, who birdied the third hole of a sudden-death playoff against Patrick Cantlay to make the WM Phoenix Open his first PGA TOUR victory, hit his radar. Scheffler needed a caddie last fall, and they shared the same faith, which seemed like a good start.
“The other thing he said is, ‘I really like competing,’” Scott said. “I said, ‘I like competing. Sounds like it could be a fun thing.’ So, we hashed out the details.”
They started at The RSM Classic last November. First round: 63. The rest: forgettable (T57).
Faith was at a premium as Scheffler made four bogeys in the middle of the final round Sunday, but he and Scott knew the game was there. After all, this was a player who had hit all 18 greens and shot a best-of-the-week, 9-under 62 just the day before. They just had to hang in there.
They did, and the partnership yielded a victory for the first time as Scheffler birdied four of his last six holes in regulation – nearly winning it in regulation from just inside 5 1/2 feet – before ending it with a birdie putt from 25 feet, 7 inches on their third extra crack at the par-4 18th hole.
Scott reminded Scheffler that one putt, the miss at the end of regulation, didn’t define him.
“Yeah, you know, it's tough to really say exactly what's going on between us,” said Scheffler, who goes to fourth in the FedExCup, ninth in the world. “But I think we kind of sit on the same wavelength. We get along really well. He does a good job keeping me level-headed and making jokes and having fun.
“He's a really, really hard worker, which I appreciate,” Scheffler continued. “I have a lot of faith in him as a caddie and I trust him on the golf course, and it really helps me kind of believe in myself. Just having him out there by my side is extremely helpful.”
Scheffler, 25, held the outright 54-hole lead at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open last fall before finishing T2. That marked his second career runner-up on TOUR and first since the 2021 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.
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Scottie Scheffler | Rising Star
But he wasn’t obsessed with winning, seemingly the only thing he hadn’t done after shooting 59 in a TOUR event, coming so close at the WGC-Dell Technologies in Austin, Texas – where he was a star for the University of Texas – and beating world No. 1 Jon Rahm at the Ryder Cup.
“The only time I thought about it was when you guys asked about it,” he said of the hole in his resume.
Now, though, he’s done it, hoisting his first trophy one week after Tom Hoge broke through at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am and two after Luke List won the Farmers Insurance Open.
Scheffler’s victory marks the first string of three straight first-time winners in standalone events on TOUR since Nate Lashley, Mathew Wolff and Dylan Frittelli won the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic, 3M Championship and John Deere Classic, respectively.
It also validated Scott’s eye for talent, plus a lot of opinions that Scheffler was good enough to win.
The caddie’s first indication of how good Scheffler is: Partners Scheffler and Watson tied for eighth in the two-man Zurich Classic of New Orleans last April. Scott, then still on the Watson’s bag, saw the game.
Still, it was not until the Ryder Cup last fall, when Scheffler beat Rahm in singles and Scott watched it all on TV, did the caddie realize the full breadth of Scheffler’s skillset.
“I was like, Wow, he’s really good,'” Scott said.
Now everybody knows it – if they didn’t already. Because friends are the shock absorbers of life, and player and caddie were too united to fall apart even after bogeys on 5, 7, 8 and 12.
“We had a lot of fun together even through all the bogeys and stuff,” Scheffler said. “We never felt totally out of the golf tournament, and I looked at him on 14 green, we were only I think maybe two back at the time, and I think I was a little bit surprised still to be that close to the lead.
“He just did a good job keeping me in it mentally and keeping me focused on the task at hand.”