Little wonder Schleffer’s head is spinning after reaching World No. 1 in 42 days

Fatiha Betscher
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Little wonder Schleffer’s head is spinning after reaching World No. 1 in 42 days

Scottie Scheffler poses with the Walter Hagen Cup after defeating Kevin Kisner in their finals match to win the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It’s little wonder new World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler admits his head is spinning.

It took Scheffler three wins in just 42 days to reach the pinnacle of the World Rankings following his convincing 4 & 3 victory over fellow American Kevin Kisner in the final of the WGC – Dell Match-Play Championship in Austin, Texas.

At the age of 25 year, 9 months and 6 days Scheffler ended Spaniard Jon Rahm’s reign of 36 weeks as World No. 1 thanks three wins in his last five starts.

Scheffler won the WM Phoenix Open on February 13th, was seventh in the Genesis Invitational, won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, finishing T55th at the Players, and now he has won the WGC – Dell Technologies Match-Play.

The last player to reach World No. 1 in 42 days or fewer was David Duval in 1991 and took just 21 days from his first win on October 12th 1997 to his third of an eventual 13 Tour successes on November 2nd, 1997.

“My head is kind of spinning right now, to be honest with you. I’m obviously pretty happy, and I really can’t put into words what it felt like after Kevin conceded my six-inch putt or whatever”, said Scheffler.

“My head has just been kind of spinning. We took a lot of photos and now I’m sitting in here with you guys.  So, definitely a lot of emotion coming off the green today. It’s been kind of a crazy past few months. I got my first win in Phoenix, and then I guess this is my third now, and golly, what a long week.

“I really don’t know how to describe the emotion. I’ve thought about winning this tournament ever since last year. It left kind of a poor taste in my mouth getting so close and ultimately coming up short.

“So, it feels really good to finish the job this time around”.

The out-pouring of support for Scheffler could not have been stronger for the golfer born in New Jersey, but grew-up in Austin in attending Highland Park High School, and later playing golf at the University of Texas from 2014 to 2018. In 2015, he was named Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year while he was on the USA winning Walker Cup team.

Scheffler qualified for both the 2016 and 2017 US Open. He turned pro and secured his PGA Tour card with two wins on the secondary Korn Ferry Tour.  Last year he made his Ryder Cup debut on the back of three top-10s in the majors – T8th PGA Championship, T7th US Open and T8th at The Open.

He was handed the Walter Hagen trophy having never been behind in the final against Kevin Kisner going 2 up after four, 3 up after six, 4 up at 14 and winning the match with a par on 15, all of which followed a convincing 3 & 1 win over Dustin Johnson in Sunday morning’s semi-final.

“With the way the wind was blowing and how gusty it was and the green firmness was getting up and the pins were definitely challenging, it was tough to make birdies out there”, said Scheffler.

“I kind of kept reminding myself to stay patient. When you build up a lead on a guy like Kevin, it never really feels safe, kind of like my lead this morning on Dustin. I never felt safe. Dustin definitely proved it wasn’t safe this morning.

I would just say it got tougher as the afternoon went on. As the wind picked up it was really tough to make birdies”.

Scheffler is not contesting this week’s Valero Texas Open which makes his next event the Masters.  He made the trip to Augusta National twice before and posted a pair of top-20s including T19th in 2020 and T18th last year.

What chance is there of being third time lucky and being fitted with a green jacket?

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