Mention the names Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy in one sentence to a golf fan and they will instantly recognize the sheer talent and winning flair that these younger stars possess. Some stars start shining early in their lives and a young McIlroy couldn’t help going to bed with a new club his dad bought him as a kid, even holding it in the correct grip as he slept. Scheffler also developed a passion for golf when his parents gave him a golf ball and a set of plastic clubs at three. These two kids later stunned the global golf community, where they now exchange the world number one titles like players share the Masters’ famous cheese sandwiches.
Scheffler was born in 1996, making him 26 as of 2023. He turned pro in 2018. McIlroy was born in 1989, aged 33 in 2023, and the star turned pro in 2007. So, there is an 11-year gap in between the two stars’ professional careers.
McIlroy’s early career was mentored by his father, Gerry McIlroy, who was a scratch handicapper. The Northern Irishman joined the Holywood Golf Club as the youngest member aged seven and learned his early techniques from a Nick Faldo video. His first coach was Michael Bannon and to this day remains by his side. The first notable international win for McIlroy was the World Championship for the 9–10 age group held in Miami, Florida. As an amateur, he collected various titles, such as several Irish Close Championships and West of Ireland Championship trophies and became world number one on the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a week in 2007 at the age of 17.
Scottie Scheffler honed his skills under pro instructor Randy Smith at the Royal Oaks Golf Club, Dallas. At the PGA junior circuit, competing against fellow future champions including Will Zalatoris, Scheffler recorded 75 wins. When Scheffler joined the local Highland Park High School, where he scooped individual state titles three years in a row to match a record of fellow Texan Jordan Spieth. He then won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur, was 2014’s U.S. top-ranked junior golfer, and achieved other exploits such as qualifying for the U.S. Open in 2016 and 2017.
In terms of professional wins, Rory McIlroy boasts a decorated career, with 36 wins to date, including 23 on the PGA TOUR, 15 on the DP World Tour, one on the PGA Tour of Australasia, and one on the Asian Tour. McIlroy’s first professional win came as a 19-year-old on February 1st, 2009, when he won the Dubai Desert Classic. McIlroy has spent over 120 weeks as World No. 1 and has four major trophies to his name: 2 PGA Championships (2012 & 2014), the 2011 US Open title, and the 2014 Open Championship. McIlroy needs to pick up a Masters trophy to achieve a career grand slam. Other notable trophies in the star’s cabinet include four Race to Dubai titles and three FedExCup wins.
Since turning pro, Scheffler has seven professional wins to date. On tour, the star holds 5 PGA TOUR victories, and two each on the European and Korn Ferry tours. Scheffler’s magical moment came in 2022, where he started by winning the WM Phoenix Open on February 13th, followed by the Arnold Palmer Invitational only three weeks later. He didn’t stop there, three weeks later, he won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, rising to number one in the OWGR. Scheffler struck gold in April by securing the green jacket in the Masters Tournament, marking his first major triumph, the only one so far. The champion has already spent over 30 weeks as world number one.
2022 was an exciting year for both stars. In April’s Masters Tournament, McIlroy jumped from a tie for ninth to second by hitting a bogey-free 64 in the final round, only to lose to the winner, Scheffler, by three strokes. McIlroy would get his revenge on August 28, when he scooped his third Tour Championship and FedExCup by beating Scheffler and Im Sung-Jae by one stroke.