Ted Scott knows you can at this point. He’s a poorer man because of it.
Sometime last year, the longtime caddie had made a bet with his boss, Scottie Scheffler: Chip-in a certain amount of times, and he’d cash; fall short, and Scott would win money. It continued this year, and on Saturday at the Players Championship, through a report from NBC on-course reporter John Wood, we learned the magic number: 10.
Which Scheffler hit right before Wood told his story. And then Scheffler chipped in No. 11 on Sunday.
“It’s just kind of a fun little deal for us out there on the course,” said Scheffler, who went on to win the Players by a whopping five shots. “Probably a bit more fun for me than it is for him because I get to chip in, and he has to owe me for it. But, yeah, just kind of Ted just being Ted.”
Fun stuff, no doubt. It’s here, though, where you may have some questions. Such as …
Is Scheffler a wizard? No, not that we know of, at least.
Aren’t chip-ins and their ilk hard to bank on? Despite all of our prayers and clicks on GOLF.com, yes, yes they are. But …
Can you make your own luck?
(Breaking the fourth wall here, I personally love this question. Let’s continue.)
Jordan Spieth has a thought here. As the conductor of the Jordan Spieth Experience and all the highs and lows and hole-outs that go with it, he knows the subject well. And his theory on it came out Sunday at the Players Championship, when a reporter asked him if Scheffler magic — which has paved the way for six wins since last year’s Super Bowl — reminded him of his own.
His idea involved gambling. And Phil Mickelson.
“He’s got every shot,” Spieth said of Scheffler, “and then at this point, once he won last year and obviously won the Masters, I feel like his — when you’re presented with those shots, if you don’t feel like you have house money, you play them a certain way, but if you feel like it doesn’t matter, you’re going to play the shot that could go closest even if it means disaster could happen.
“You still sit there and go for it and pull it off, similar to how Phil Mickelson played most of his rounds.”
At this point in his answer, Spieth noted that Scheffler could have been playing this way all along. He understandably has no idea, and Scheffler himself would maybe have trouble admitting that his game has changed, though in that case, his success could act as a confirmation. Spieth then talked of his own experience.
“When I started to feel like a couple years out here and having some success, I started to just trust flop shots and stuff where instead of making sure you have a putt at it, you’re like, no, I’m going to try and see this go in, and I feel like he’s just playing like that. There’s nothing to lose, everything to gain for him, and it’s a really nice place to be where he’s at.
“I’ve been there. It’s a really fun time playing golf that way when the ball does find the cup like that, too.”
Still, that all being said, isn’t there a chance — to stick with the luck theme — that his luck would run out? As part of the back-and-forth on Sunday, a reporter asked Spieth if play like Scheffler’s was “more like once-in-a-lifetime runs.”
Here, he brought up Tiger Woods.
And that you shouldn’t call it a run.
“I mean, there’s one guy that created a career out of a run and became the best ever,” Spieth said. “So not necessarily. But I think that — and honestly I hated when it was called a run for me, so I don’t want to call it a run for Scottie. He’s playing really — like even if he didn’t have those two chip-ins, he’s only leading by four. [Editor’s note: Spieth was talking as Scheffler was still playing his final round.]
“It’s also to win golf tournaments, you hole putts or you chip something in, and everyone does it during a week. But he’s a guy who is going to be really exciting. Tee to green, he’s as good as he’s ever been right now. With some flair and some stuff around the greens and making some putts, he’s a guy that’s hard to beat.
“I play against him a lot at home, and consistently he’s shooting really low rounds. When I feel like I get the better of him, it’s a boost of confidence right now because he’s arguably the best player in the world right now. He and Jon [Rahm] and Rory [McIlroy] have — I guess you guys have all written about how that change has gone down, but it’s easy to say right now that I consider him the best in the world in the current situation.”