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A day in the life of Bubba Watson's caddy

By Will Tidey, CNN
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A day in the life of a caddy
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ted Scott is in elite group of caddies that travel world and earn lucrative salaries
  • After failing to make impact as professional golfer, Scott became caddy in 2000
  • The 37-year-old began assisting Bubba Watson in 2006 and has helped him win three PGA titles
  • Scott and Watson share close bond, which has helped working relationship flourish

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) -- A smiling Ted Scott strides into the bustling caddy area at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, and sets down the golf bag marked "Bubba Watson" that defines his working life.

The fresh-faced 37-year old is one of the lucky ones. Caddies for the top PGA Tour golfers can bring home as much as $250,000 a year in the modern game, traveling the world and taking a cut of everything their player earns along the way.

Such rewards make for a fiercely competitive industry. These days, most caddies are college-educated and strong players in their own right -- a long way from the stereotype of disheveled, drunken hobos portrayed in movies like Caddyshack.

"It's changed a lot since I've been out here," says Scott, who took his first job in 2000, and counts 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger among his former employers.

"There used to be guys in the parking lot at tournaments, and you could pick up a bag. Now I've got friends who are great caddies and can't get a job. You can earn a living out here, that's what's made the difference."

Scott's player is the big-hitting Watson, and the 32-year-old American is doing better than most. He's already won two PGA Tour tournaments in 2011, cashing checks for over $3 million and handing around 10% to his good friend on the bag.

The pair started working together in 2006, when their mutual friend Ben Crane introduced them at the PGA Tour's weekly Bible study group. Watson agreed to give him a two-week trial and they've been together ever since.

"We're like brothers, brothers that Mom and Dad left alone -- and they left him in charge," Scott says.

"Sometimes I just want to punch him, but I love him. And I know he feels the same about me. But don't let anybody else say anything bad about us. We'll go into battle for each other."

Sometimes I just want to punch him, but I love him and I know he feels the same about me
--Ted Scott on Bubba Watson
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Like a good number of his fellow PGA Tour caddies, Scott's first intention was to make it as a player. But after turning professional he struggled to make an impact, and ultimately had to make do with the next best thing.

"I turned pro and thought, 'I'm not ready for this,' so I went out to caddy to see what I needed to work on with my game. Here I am 10 years later," Scott says.

"Being a caddy wasn't my dream, but it's a dream now. To caddy for a great player, a guy that treats me well. If you have a nice player to work with it's a great job."

With a wife and two young daughters back home in Lafayette, Louisiana, Scott accepts there are sacrifices to be made for a life on the road. But while he often goes a week or two without seeing his family, there's a clear upside to his schedule.

"I sat down to work everything out once and there's no question I get more time with my wife and kids doing this, than I would in a normal job," Scott says.

"I work about half of the time, and the rest of the time I'm home all the time. I can take my daughter to school and pick her up. I don't just have to wait for the weekends. The only hard part is not getting to my wife and kids every day."

Gallery: A day in the life of Ted Scott

When it comes to the job in hand, Scott sees his role stretching a long way beyond the guy who hands Watson his clubs and measures yardages on the golf course.

Watson is an emotional golfer, and the presence of a calming influence alongside him has proved invaluable in his recent successes. Scott is an integral part of what Watson calls "Team Bubba," and he's been credited with bringing a new focus to one of the most naturally gifted golfers on the Tour.

"It takes a long time to learn someone. And that's the art of caddying -- you have to learn your player," Scott says.

"For Bubba it's about keeping him in the middle emotionally. You don't want him to get too excited, or too mad. He's extremely emotional. It's about trying to watch him and getting back to that middle point where he plays his best."

So what exactly does being Watson's caddy entail on a typical tournament day?

It's about keeping him in the middle emotionally. You don't want him to get too excited, or too mad. He's extremely emotional
--Ted Scott on Bubba Watson

"I try to get to the course at least an hour and a half early. Bubba comes out about an hour before to start warming up, and I have to make sure I've got the bag ready -- make sure I've got a clean towel and all the rain gear ready," Scott says.

"We'll go to the putting green first and Bubba will putt for about 20 minutes. Then we'll go and hit balls, then Bubba will come back and putt some more. And then we'll go out and play the round."

Following the pair around the Quail Hollow course in Charlotte, it was obvious they share a tight bond. After five years working together Watson and Scott still have plenty to talk about, and appear completely relaxed in each other's company.

When a tournament round ends, Scott can count himself fortunate Watson is "not a big practice guy." While some of his fellow caddies are out on the range for hours afterwards, tending to their players as they hit balls until the sun goes down, Scott has it easy.

"If he (Watson) didn't like a certain shot he might go and hit one or two, just to get a positive feel for it, but after that I'm off for the rest of the day," Scott says.

"So I go play golf myself, or play tennis, or hang out with my friends. Whatever I can do to entertain myself to the next day."

All in all it sounds like a pretty good life being a PGA Tour caddy -- especially when your player is as relaxed a character, and as a good a player as Watson is.

Scott is one of the lucky ones, and he knows it. But while he and Watson have a friendship that's the envy of his fellow caddies, he's never in any doubt of who wears the pants in their relationship.

"We love to hang out, and have a lot of common interests. But we knock heads too, and he's in charge so I always have to submit," he says.

Ted Scott and Bubba Watson support Caddy for a Cure, a not-for-profit corporation that offers the chance to caddy for a PGA Tour professional for a day and distributes funds to an array of worthy charitable causes. To find out more, visit: www.caddyforacure.com