Ever wanted a little insight into the world of a professional caddie on the PGA tour?
Well I did so I’ve been speaking with Ted Scott, not sure who that is? Ted is Bubba Watson’s caddie and has been for the last 12 years. He was with Bubba on that miracle shot in the 2012 Masters Play Off.
Back in 2000 Ted was playing on some of the mini tours in the USA, when he caddied for Grant Waite on the Web.com tour. Ted’s philosophy is “If you want to be better at something, find someone better than you and spend time with them” following that initial round Ted was learning so much about the game that he stayed on and earned some money doing it. In fact Ted never started out wanting to be a caddie but he enjoyed it so much he never went back to playing on the mini tours.
Contrary to some belief to become a professional caddie on tour, there is no official criteria. It’s simply finding a way to develop your skills and learning. Ted suggests for any of you thinking of this, find golfers on smaller tours and ask if you can caddy for them as a starting point to understand the role of a caddy and to better your knowledge.
“The Freak Show”
That’s what Ted calls Bubba! I asked Ted why, as you naturally would
“It’s my nick name for him. He can hit any golf shot; it’s pretty incredible what the guy is capable of. Even some of the shots he attempts to hit are incredible. Bubba attempts shots that most people wouldn’t think about or attempt. He has a lot of belief and a lot of talent; he hits it pretty far and plays golf like no one”
Ted describes caddying for Bubba as “fun and special as much of a blessing to caddy for someone like him” The golfing partnership regularly stay in touch even through COVID-19 they speak a couple times a week.
Life before Bubba consisted of working with Grant Waite, Paul Azinger and Fred Funk to name just a few. It was PGA Pro Ben Crane who got Ted and Bubba together through the PGA Tour Bible Studies group. Since 2007 Bubba and Ted have forged a great working relationship on the course as well as a close friendship off course too.
The professional highlight for both being the Masters win in 2012, I asked Ted what was the 1st thing they said to each other after the unbelievable shot Bubba hit on the 10th after his wayward tee shot. The response was simply “Nothing” I suppose it goes back to Ted’s comments about Bubba being “The Freak Show” pulling off shots that no other golfer would attempt.
I asked Ted about the conversation that him and Bubba would have around club selection and the strategy for the shot.
“Shot and Club selection is the same thing for Bubba, same for any good play. It starts off with finding the details. What’s the wind? How far is it? What is it actually playing? Where do we want to miss?”
I usually don’t think about where I want to miss, apart from the obvious water hazards! How many of you think about where you want your shot to miss?
Ted carries on to explain that after the details are presented it becomes Bubba’s own Language “dink cut, chip draw” to name just a few Ted wants all of this to be in terms that Bubba is comfortable with as it aids execution of the shot.
I followed this up by asking how well does Bubba take advice if Ted thinks he might be making the wrong choice.
“Ultimately, every decision is up to him” Ted talks through the process but Bubba is good at taking the advice then making his decision, Ted describes how Bubba will always make the best choice that he thinks is available. That’s the only way you can become a great player. Making decisions on the advice you are given but you have to own it as a player. All that being said Ted says
“Make a choice don’t look back except to learn”
Something I think we all could do a little better.
Away from golf Ted’s family get all his time in Louisiana. He is an avid supporter of his community working through the church and teaches golf to a select few. He plays to a plus 1 handicap, so for those of you who may be thinking you want to become a caddy and can’t quite cut it on the course. Use this as the standard of golf you need to be at to truly be on the PGA Tour supporting the world’s best golfers. I was a little shocked by this, in a good way but didn’t expect Ted to be at such a level considering he stopped pursuits of tour life as a golfer to pursue one of a caddy. Fair play I say!
Bubba’s last win came in 2018 at the Genesis Open, I asked Ted has that allowed frustration to creep in or forced them to change their approach on course.
“No, we haven’t changed anything. Just working on the same stuff and trying to refine them. Winning on tour is difficult and you need things to go your way. You can play good for one week and win. You can play great the next week and not win. It’s really fine lines”
It was great to be able to speak to Ted and get some insights. Bubba genuinely is one of my favorite golfers which made this a bit more special for me. I wish both Ted and Bubba the best for the rest of the season, apart from in the Ryder cup!
Until Next Time, Stay Safe.
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Photos from: Golf Digest, Golf.com, Ottawa Citizen and Links Player