Bubba Watson, Ted Scott
Bubba Watson and his caddie Ted Scott on the 10th tee during the first round of the 2019 PGA Championship. Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

In Between Shots

Figuring out what to talk about in between shots during dead times, or in practice, is an art that varies for each caddie depending on their ability to roll with a player’s interests.

Scott said he knows a player who required his caddie to read a specific newspaper before their practice time. The caddie would arrive to the course an extra hour or two early, read the paper, take notes and discuss the news that day on the course.

Those kinds of off the cuff conversations about other subjects go a long way in the player/caddie development.

“Trying to figure out what to talk with the (new) player about between shots is just as important as what you’re going to talk about with him before he hits,” Henley said. “You can tell when a guy lights up, instantly, and you can tell in the inflection of his voice.”

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Scott agrees that this time is vital and chalks its importance up to the sheer volume of it while on the course.

“Golf is a game where I don’t think many people can play for five hours and concentrate for five hours. If Tour players hit, on average, 70 shots and it takes them about one minute with their routine to hit each shot, that’s 70 minutes,” Scott said. “So, you figure that you’re out there for five hours and you’ve only got to concentrate for a little over one hour, so what are you doing with the other four hours? So, what you talk about in that time can play a big role in how your guy feels.”

And the chatter doesn’t have to come from a caddie. In the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, Scott was caddying in the penultimate group for Olin Browne, paired with eventual winner Michael Campbell on Sunday.

Campbell held a slim lead over Tiger Woods and pulled his tee shot into the trees on the 72nd hole.

“Olin Browne charged over to Michael and told him a joke, he basically distracted Michael from himself,” Scott said. “Because the moment was so crazy, who knows what (Michael) could have been thinking about. Olin was in his ear and Michael was probably half listening and half thinking, but it was enough to make a difference.”

Campbell said afterward that the distraction helped him.