News & ToursNovember 10, 2014

Adam Scott, the Bonzai Pipeline and his caddie: A story of survival, thankfully

Adam Scott is auditioning caddies in the wake of Steve Williams' semi-retirement, a good time for a reminder to avoid those who would steer him into a water hazard.

At the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, Scott was without Williams and need of a replacement. Legendary surfer Kelly Slater recommended that he use his surfing buddy, Benji Weatherley.

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Benji Weatherley with Adam Scott (Getty Images photo)

Slater, an avid golfer who was visiting his equipment benefactor Cobra Golf in Carlsbad, Calif., last week, recounted the story of how he and Benji convinced Scott to join them in the water at the renowned Bonzai Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore, or the Pipe as it often is called, its waves widely regarded among the most dangerous in the world.

"I knew I'd be fine. I can swim," Scott told Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson afterwards, downplaying what was a somewhat harrowing experience, according to Slater, an eyewitness.

"We were trying to get him to paddle out to surf with us," Slater said. "It wasn't very big for the Pipe, but when you're used to it you don't realize how heavy it is. He was thinking about paddling out and then we finally said, just put some fins on and go swim off to the side. Stay fully safe.'

"Well, Benji's not the most precautionary guy. I see this set coming, thinking, this one's pretty big. It's bigger than this room is high," Slater said, pointing to a high ceiling. "But we were all kind of distracted because there was a monk seal in the water. The seal was just checking us all out, and it's really rare to see one there. So we were kind of all paying attention to the seal.

"Benji kind of forgot about Adam, the set was coming, but I was too far away to say anything to Adam. Benji was kind of in a safe spot. I thought, ah, [bleep], here it comes. The set starts swinging wide. The apex is right in front of me. Benji starts yelling, hey swim, swim, swim now.' Benji gets under [the breaking wave], but Adam doesn't. That thing just pins him, landed right in front of him. All I see is sand and whitewater churning up and Benji comes up shouting, where is he? Where is he?'

"I said, he'll come up eventually.' And then he came up and and, dude, his eyes were bugging out. Poor guy. I was kind of mad at Benji. That was Benji's fault. Adam doesn't know the break so much. He just didn't read it. Being down level in the water you can't see the sets as well. Benji should have known. I'd like to think I wouldn't have got him in that situation.

"Benji's like, oh, he's fine.' Adam looked pretty rattled. He swam in after that. He said, No more swimming out here for me.'"

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