Torrid stretch endures for world’s top-ranked player as Masters triumph marks fourth PGA TOUR win in six starts
By Mike McAllister, PGA TOUR
The world’s top-ranked golfer woke up Sunday morning in his Augusta, Georgia, rental home crying tears of despair. It was the final day of the Masters and, despite having a three-shot lead and riding the hottest streak that the PGA TOUR has seen in years, Scottie Scheffler suddenly faced a surprising crisis of confidence.
“I was so stressed out,” he said.
So much so that he turned to wife Meredith and told her flatly, “I don’t feel like I’m ready for this kind of stuff.”
Admitted Scheffler: “I just felt overwhelmed.”
Relying on their shared faith, Meredith talked him off the ledge. A big breakfast then calmed his nervous stomach.
By the time he reached the training room at Augusta National, he was back in his environment. And when Scheffler stepped onto the first tee with caddie Ted Scott, he felt at peace. The crisis had been replaced by a mission: Complete the journey to become a major champion.
“The human condition is to make things bigger than they really are,” Scheffler said. “And years from now I would say people may not remember me as a champion, and that’s fine. But in the moment, you think it’s a lot bigger deal than it really is.”
Actually, it’s a very big deal what Scheffler has going on right now.
His Masters victory is his fourth PGA TOUR win in his last six starts, adding to his previous wins at the WM Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, and the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Not since Jason Day in 2015 has a TOUR pro produced four wins in a six-start stretch.
And not since 1999 has a golfer won four times in a PGA TOUR season by the end of the Masters. David Duval did it back then, winning four of his first eight starts that year.
Scheffler also becomes the first FedExCup leader to win the Masters since the FedExCup was established in 2007. He extended his FedExCup lead to 1,236 points over No. 2 Cameron Smith, this year’s winner of THE PLAYERS Championship and one of his few pursuers during Masters weekend, which Scheffler entered with a five-shot lead after 36 holes.
Scheffler also becomes the sixth player to win in his first PGA TOUR start as World No. 1. And he becomes just the second player to win at least four times, including a major and a World Golf Championships event, in the same season. The only other player? Tiger Woods, who did it eight times.
One other thing worth noting: Scheffler becomes the first player in five years to win on the PGA TOUR and then win a major in his next start since his friend and fellow Dallas resident Jordan Spieth did it in 2017.
All this is to say that this is a pretty incredible stretch of golf we’re seeing right now from the 25-year-old Scheffler, who until two months ago was still seeking his first win on TOUR.
“We all wish we had that two, three-month window when we get hot, and hopefully majors fall somewhere along in that window,” Woods said when asked about Scheffler’s streak. “We take care of it in those windows.
“Scottie seems to be in that window right now.”
Of course, the question now becomes: How long will that window last?
Will he extend it through the summer to collect more TOUR wins, more majors? Will he still be hot once the FedExCup Playoffs begin with the FedEx St. Jude Championship in August? Since the turn of the century, the most TOUR wins in a single season is nine, achieved by Woods in 2000 and Vijay Singh in 2004.
Is Scheffler on that kind of path?
It will be fun to see how it plays out, to see Scheffler chase historic greatness with his every start. Who knows, perhaps there will be more Sunday mornings that may cause Scheffler to wonder if he’s ready for this kind of stuff.
For now, though, he’s not looking ahead. He’s never really taken that kind of long-range perspective. He’s the kind of player who rarely looks at leaderboards. He just wants to keep his head down, focus on the next shot and grind away.
“I’ve never been a guy that likes to look too far into the future,” Scheffler said. “So for me just staying present has always been what works best for me. So even though I would get asked the questions – when are you going get your first win? – all the questions you get asked in rooms like this, the only time I ever thought about it was then.
“For me, I was doing my best just to stay present and enjoy the moment.”
Right now, there’s plenty of moments for Scheffler to enjoy – and plenty of his fellow PGA TOUR pros who are trying to figure out just how to slow down his dominance.