The quality of Scottie Scheffler’s victory in the Masters should not be overlooked or doubted by the remarkable feats of the chasing pack. This was as one-sided a tournament as you are likely to see at Augusta but in saying that, it is impossible not to marvel at yet another extraordinary Tiger feat.
Scheffler was the only man in the field to break par on all four days despite very demanding conditions throughout. The tall American, who held the rest of the pack comfortably at arm’s length after going five clear on the second day, secured his fourth victory in his last six tournament starts. A truly incredible feat.
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Woods ran out of steam in the end, successive weekend rounds of 78 dampening the challenge and the buzz that his opening round 71 bought to Augusta. Woods defied the expectations of many, even making the cut, unlike former world number ones Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka.
Rory McIlroy’s Sunday charge reminded the world and, more specifically, the first packed Augusta galleries since 2019 of his incredible talent. Still, it was the special skills of Scottie Scheffler who claimed the Green Jacket in only his third Masters’ appearance.
Rewind to eight months ago at Whistling Straights, and the quiet man of the American team was still waiting for his first PGA TOUR win.
His game is very imaginative; he has an uncanny ability to move the ball both ways, finding ways to shape each shot to fit each challenge. He is a very exciting golfer to watch, and last week at Augusta, he was exceptionally good.
The Texan teamed up with caddie Ted Scott in November last year, which may be the catalyst for the sudden upsurge in forme. Bubba Watson’s old bagman was there for both of his Master’s victories, and he must have known he was onto a good thing when Scheffler came calling.
“He was the number one junior in the world,” Ted Scott said. “Won the US junior, great college player, Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year. He’s a winner.
“It’s not like he wasn’t a winner, and suddenly I started caddying for him, and all of a sudden, it’s like he’s a winner. It was inevitable.”
Scheffler four-putted the last, but he had already won the tournament at that point, and other than spilling his takeaway food on the journey back to his house on Saturday night, he hadn’t put a foot wrong for four days.
Scheffler reflected not only on his irritation at spilling his food but his unusual teary breakdown on Sunday morning before heading for the course, doubting himself on the verge of his major breakthrough. Arriving at Augusta National, however, bought an inner calm: a calmness that has been the hallmark of his stunning 2022 so far, culminating in the first men’s major of the year.
“Playing with a lead is not easy, especially at a golf tournament like this,” said Scheffler.
“If you probably took a straw poll of the guys on Tour, what golf tournament they would want to win? It would be the Masters.
“Off the golf course, it’s stressful. On the golf course, it’s a heck of a lot of fun.”
Scheffler was born in New Jersey, but he and his family moved to Dallas, Texas, when he was very young. A young Scott Scheffler was a golfing geek, swinging his clubs as often as possible and looking up to heroes like Ryan Palmer and Justin Leonard.
“I grew up around so many guys out there, just watching them and learning from them,” Scheffler said.
“I wore pants (long trousers) when I was a kid at Royal Oaks because I wanted to play golf on the PGA Tour. I would wear pants and a collared shirt to like third-grade class and get made fun of – rightfully so.”
Scottie isn’t slow to talk about Tiger’s influence on him either. “Oh yeah,” Scheffler smiled. “I played Tiger’s irons, wore his shoes, wore his shirt this week.”
And Scheffler played these four days at Augusta in a manner the five-time Masters Champion has on many occasions. Dominant and unflappable.
“If you’re going to choose a golf tournament to win, this would be the tournament I would want to win,” Scheffler said.
“You don’t know how many chances you’re going to get….I had a five-shot lead on Friday and then a three-shot lead going into Sunday; I don’t know if you get better opportunities than that. You don’t want to waste them.”
And waste them he didn’t—a deserving, humble winner of another memorable Masters.