PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – After caddying not one but two Masters champions and a central member of Team Scotty, Teddy Scott was uniquely positioned to applaud his boss’ performance at TPC Global Headquarters.
However, he wasn’t smart enough to even remotely anticipate Scottie Scheffler’s short-game genius this season.
Scheffler and Scott took a page from Jordan Spieth’s book and took bets on how many chip-ins the 26-year-old would have this season. Scott sets the over/under at 10.
“I’ll be honest, I think Teddy made a very poor bet,” Spieth said Sunday at The Players Championship. “I had this [caddie Michael Greller] And we had it at 15 or 16 before. I think Teddy will probably reevaluate given that we’re not even in the middle of March. This might be a really good bet because it’s already over and he’ll make a new bet and the press will win.
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On consecutive days on a flawless canvas, Scheffler chipped in for the season on his way to a stunning victory at The Players Championship. Recorded 10 and 11.
But these weren’t any ordinary chip-ins.
On Saturday, Scheffler holed his second shot to the left of the green on the par-5 second hole, hitting a wildly short-sided chip from about 60 feet from the hole, just four feet from the left edge .
“Those shots you’re always really trying to get a look at,” Scheffler said of his delicate flop shot that landed on the fringe and fell into the hole for an unlikely eagle. “I was definitely lucky to see it go in, and then Teddy and I had a year-long thing that I beat him and he owed me something, but he had none of it, and That’s why he owes me. It’s an IOU from Teddy.”
The chip-in for the season came on No. 11 on the par-3 eighth hole on Sunday when his tee shot skidded short of the green and sat on the edge of a bunker. With the ball above his feet, which were planted firmly in the bunker, and 34 feet from the hole he launched his chip perfectly onto the green and watched it fall squarely into the cup.
If The Players’ field was feeling underwhelmed by Scheffler’s performance, Scott might be sympathetic.
“I was fine knowing he was competitive in the early part of last season, I just needed to find a way to motivate or distract him. So I told him I would give him an incentive if he chips 10 times, I’ll give you some of my own money,” Scott explained. He crouched three times [the WGC-Match Play] Last year so this year I doubled his salary and he reduced his salary three times this week and he is 11. He asked, ‘Will I get a bonus?’ I’m like, ‘No, you’re done.’
For the week, Scheffler went 13 for 18 (fourth in the field) and was fourth in strokes gained: picking up more than five shots around the green, which ironically was his first shot at the PGA Tour’s flagship. There was no margin of victory. events. Not that Scheffler has any interest in those kinds of clinical distinctions. This is art, not science. Ever since he began honing his all-world game under the watchful eye of swing coach Randy Smith at the Royal Oaks in Dallas at age 9, it’s been forever.
“All of them [chipping contest] When he was young, he was batting 70 percent against the pros by age 9,” Smith recalled. “Now he has some kids who are doing to him what he did to them. . i saw it once [Scheffler losing a chipping contest to a junior]He didn’t take it well.
The 9-year-old with soft hands and a fearless imagination has now become the world’s top-ranked player again, and is the easy favorite at next month’s Masters, where he will be the defending champion, thanks in large part to his uncanny handling of impossible conditions. The ability to convert, such as on No. 2 on Saturday and on the eighth hole during the final round, in the clutch moments that define victory.
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It’s a style that Spieth didn’t invent, but he certainly popularized with his unique brand of Renegade Golf. The golden child has always been at his best fun when pushed to the edge of disaster, so he knows how Scheffler’s ability to stay out of trouble can fuel success and how that success can only fuel more aggressive play. Gives It is a wonderful cycle.
“Once he won last year and obviously won the Masters, when you’re presented with those shots, if you don’t feel like you have the house money, you play them a certain way, but If you think it doesn’t matter you’re going to play the shot that’s the closest you can go even if it means disaster could happen, you still sit there and go for it and pull it off, okay The same way Phil Mickelson played most of his rounds,” Spieth explained. “He has nothing to lose, everything to gain, and it’s a really good place to be. I went there.”
It’s Scheffler’s complete game – from a swing that led the field in strokes: tee to green at TPC Sawgrass to a steady putter that didn’t contain a single three-putt at The Players – that makes him the best player in the game. However, his consistency in not accepting mediocrity is what will keep him there and that threshold begins and ends with a small game dug out of Texas dirt as a junior.
Not to mention impossible shots like his up-and-down on the second hole on No. 8 on the third day and Sunday His famous chip-in on the third hole During the final round at last year’s Masters, feed a competitive side that’s often hidden by his sheepish smile and calm demeanor.
With Players & Masters done, Scheffler still not thinking about legacy
It is at such moments that the artist is at his creative best.
Rickie Fowler said, “A lot of times, when you’re making it, you’re looking at what the ball is going to do on the green, you’re focusing on one spot.” “It’s so funny when you see it come in and hit the spot and everything happens as you see it.”
Scott will have to re-think his strategy going forward. At the very least, he would need to renegotiate the terms of the bet given Scheffler’s growing penchant for dramatic chip-ins.
Scheffler admitted with a devious smile, “Maybe it’s a little more fun for me than it is for him because I get to chip in, and he owes me that.” “Like Ted Being Ted.”
Likewise, we must trust Scotty being Scotty.