Bubba Watson happy to contribute to Scottie Scheffler’s success

041022 Augusta: Bubba Watson reacts to his tee shot on No. 4 during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Augusta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

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041022 Augusta: Bubba Watson reacts to his tee shot on No. 4 during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Augusta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

AUGUSTA — Bubba Watson was rooting hard for Scottie Scheffler on Sunday. But it had less to do with Scheffler than it did the man carrying his bag.

Ted Scott was Watson’s caddie for both of his Masters championships in 2012 and 2014. After 15 years together, the duo parted ways last year.

Scott picked up Scheffler’s bag this season, and that has been a wonderful thing for both parties. Watson believes Scott’s expertise at Augusta National has helped Scheffler, and Scheffler’s play has definitely enhanced Scott’s pocketbook.

Scheffler won $2.7 million for his Masters win.

Their breakup was amicable. Scott told Watson he needed 10 more years on the bag with Watson to achieve his financial goals. Watson, out last year with a wrist injury and uncertain of his golfing future, couldn’t promise them to him.

Watson published a book last year about his struggles with anxiety, depression and weight fluctuation. Coupled with the wrist injury, which he jokingly blamed on “bad golf,” Watson said he couldn’t promise Scott the future he deserved.

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“So, I called him and told him. I said, Look, man, I’m 43 years old. I don’t know what I’m going to do. My wrist is killing me.’ He needs 10 more years. So, I gave him what I felt like a nice retirement package when we split up, but we split up mutually.”

It was Watson who got Scott on the bag with Scheffler. Watson befriended Scheffler several years ago by inviting him to a Bible study. Scott, too, is a Christian, and Watson believed his longtime partner could be a stabilizing force both on and off the golf course.

“You seek out a young guy and try to help them, so we became friends,” Watson said of Scheffler. “That’s how we joined up and played in New Orleans. Got to know him over time. That’s really it.”

It has proved a good move by all. Scheffler is, of course, the hottest player on the planet. And with his wrist now healed, Watson is playing much better.

Gabriel Sauer is now Watson’s caddie. They combined for a second-place finish at the PIF Saudi International in February and made the cut in the 86th Masters – his No. 1 goal of the year. Watson shot 71 on Sunday and finished tied for 39th at 7 over par and hopes to play 15 events this year.

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“Obviously, pleased beyond belief for Teddy to be on (Scheffler’s) bag and help him,” Watson said. “I want nothing more than these young guys to be better than me, right? Just like I’m trying to teach my kids to be better than me – not in golf but in life.”

Bunker shot at 18 vaults Collin Morikawa into fifth

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa never really threatened the lead this week, but he finished the week with a dramatic hole-out from the right bunker on the final hole for a career-best 67. The 5-under score boosted Morikawa all the way into fifth place, his best showing in three Masters appearances.

Minutes earlier, Morikawa watched Rory McIlroy hole out from the front left bunker to shoot 8-under 64. After McIlroy and the crowd calmed down, Morikawa blasted the ball out of the same bunker, and it rolled softly in the hole. McIlroy raised his hands to celebrate with his playing partner, and Morikawa tossed his ball into the crowd.

“What you saw with me and Rory on the last hole was a pretty cool scene,” Morikawa said.

Ailing champion Hideki Matsuyama ties for 14th

Hideki Matsuyama closed the defense of his Masters title with an even-par 72 on Sunday. Matsuyama, who has battled through back and neck issues for the last month, finished in a tie for 14th at 2-over 290.

Matsuyama was in contention after opening with 72-69 but struggled to shoot 77 on Saturday, a round that included five bogeys and a double-bogey.

It is the best finish by a defending champion since Jordan Spieth took second in 2016. Three of the previous six winners missed the cut the year after their victory – Dustin Johnson in 2021, Patrick Reed in 2019 and Sergio Garcia in 2018.

No low amateur for second straight year

The Masters has always embraced the legacy of amateurs and included them in the field. But for the second straight year, no amateur made the cut at the Masters.

Six amateurs qualified for the tournament, but none made it to the weekend. Keita Nakajima of Japan and Austin Greaser, a junior at North Carolina, were both 7 over after 36 holes and missed the cut by three shots.

Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree was the last low amateur winner. He tied for 34th with a 285 and is now competing on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Among the former players who won the Silver Cup given to the field’s low amateur were Viktor Hovland (2019), Bryson DeChambeau (2016), Patrick Cantlay (2012) and Matsuyama (2011).

- Chip Towers and Stan Awtrey contributed to this report.