World Number One Scheffler happy to be under Old Course radar

Ronan MacNamara

Scottie Scheffler (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Scottie Scheffler believes he is entering the 150th Open Championship under the radar despite teeing it up as the world number one at St Andrews, something he believes isn’t a bad thing. 

Much of the pre-championship build up has been on Tiger Woods returning for just the third time this season as he hunts a hat trick of Old Course Claret Jugs in what will most likely be his final Open Championship at the Home of Golf.  

The early part of the week has been dominated by the usual LIV talk while other players such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa have absorbed much of the hype. Scheffler is happy to play a peripheral role so far but hopes to become the main attraction on Sunday afternoon. 

“There’s no extra attention on me. I have not read much but I doubt people are picking me,” said the world number one. “That might not be the true perception but I don’t read much, so I don’t feel like it’s the same as a number one would normally be. 

“Sometimes stuff ticks me off but this doesn’t. I am extremely competitive at everything, so I don’t need any extra motivation. Keeping the noise out is key.” 

Scheffler’s rise to the summit of world golf has been meteoric having won four times in six events this year including the Masters at Augusta and he will be making his debut at St Andrews when he tees off with Joaquin Niemann and Tyrrell Hatton. 

“I did not know what to expect. I heard rumours but to see it first hand is different.  

“It is a really special place, I can see the history and how golf was designed to be played hundreds of years ago.” 

“Avoid the bunkers. The legend of Tiger, avoiding them all for 72 holes, is right. I still don’t know how he did that. Avoid bunkers and use angles where you can, like driving into the rough. It will be tough to miss them but you can lose two shots each time you find a deep one.” 

Despite his relative inexperience in major championships and as a world number one, the 26-year-old has proven to be a quick learner, posting top-8 finishes in all four majors in the last three years including a T-8th finish at Royal St George’s where he opened with three rounds in the 60s on his Open debut. 

“Yeah, I don’t really see why I can’t contend,” he added. “I kind of enjoy this style of golf. It’s definitely different than what I’m used to, but with how firm everything is, you have to have such good control of your ball, and I feel like that’s a skill of mine is being able to hit all different kinds of shots. 

“And I really kind of appreciate what you have to do out here. And whether that’s running a ball 40 yards up to a green or trying to hit one as high as I’ve ever hit in my life, just doing all different kinds of stuff I think is more enjoyable for me when I get back to the States. 

“Sometimes, especially after last year, I kind of missed playing over here. To be back is really fun and special, and I’m looking forward to doing it in competition this week.” 

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