Augusta, Ga. (AP) — Scotty Scheffler has never been here before. Never went to a course on a Sunday with a lead in a major championship. Been close at times, but never came into limelight as the favorite heading into the final round.
It’s tough, anywhere.
At Augusta National, and much more.
Luckily for her, someone will be with Scheffler every step of the way, who has had a few rides around the pressure cooker that final round with a Masters win. They hired Ted Scott, who had taken both of Bubba Watson’s Masters victories on a trial basis five months earlier. It has paid heavy and swift dividends, and they will look to win their fourth win in six simultaneous starts on Sunday.
“Teddy has been a great addition to the team,” Scheffler said. “I have a lot of faith in him. He works really hard. I respect him as a person. I have a lot of trust in him when we’re out there. It’s really nice to have someone with me.” There is someone I can trust so much.”
After starting the final round in the fourth, Watson had to rally to win his first Masters in 2012. In 2014, he kept the lead coming in the final round and held it all together on the way to another green jacket. Before deciding to part ways last season, she and Scott were peanut butter-and-jelly levels of inseparable for 15 years. Schaeffler heard that Scott was available and called him. Schaeffler was then hovering in the mid-20s in the world rankings. He is currently No. 1 in the world and is in a position to win the Masters.
“It’s going to give him confidence,” Watson said of Scott being with Schaffler on Sunday. “Knowing that he has a man on the bag who lives around, who has notes… he’s going to have mental notes that he knows (from whom) he’s been with me. So, yeah , it will give him nothing more than faith and happiness, knowing that he has all the information.”
Cameron Smith is Scheffler’s closest follower, who starts three shots from Sunday in Round 3 after a 4-under round of 68. In Augusta, three shots is nothing. And Smith has the experience of being a chaser, after him and Sungjae Im – who is third, five shots behind – was the closest to Dustin Johnson at the end of the pandemic-delayed Masters in November 2020.
Schaeffler has won three of his last five starts on his way to the No. 1 ranking. Smith returned with a win at The Players Championship last month and is ranked number six in the world. It may not have Tiger Woods versus Phil Mickelson-level pizzazz, but a Schaeffler-Smith pairing in the final round of a Major — considering both are in form right now — is probably pretty close to golf’s best matchup. could be found.
“It means I can get it done, I feel like when I’m up against the best people in the world,” Smith said. “It’s a good feeling. It’s earned. It’s not given to you. I’ll have to go out there (Sunday) and play really good golf again. Hope everything goes well. I can’t control that.” what someone else is going to do.”
Most players think so.
But a good caddy like Scott says what else is going to happen – being the player whose bag he’s carrying. He’ll wear the standard-issue Masters white caddy jumpsuit on Sunday, while also serving as coach, confidante, psychologist, therapist, and final round of whatever Scheffler needs for those four-plus hours.
“Someone who lives as pretty level-headed as Teddy really doesn’t react much,” Scheffler said. “It’s definitely nice to have him on the bag.”
Shane Lowry and Charl Schwartzel will equalize seven shots at the pace of 2 under, in fourth place from Sunday. Justin Thomas and Corey Connors are in sixth place, both 1 under. Those four players, Schaeffler, Smith and Im, are the only equals to go through to the final round.
A year ago on Masters Sunday, Hideki Matsuyama’s caddy slightly stole the show. Shota Hayafuji was on Matsuyama’s kitty for that win, and when he returned the pin to the 18th hole after the final put of the Masters, he took off his hat and headed for the course. It immediately became a Masters moment.
There is a caddy who will get a chance to create the Masters moment herself on Sunday. Schaffler won’t get much more than if Scott is the one on that stage.
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