Scheffler’s odds of replacing McIlroy as World No. 1 even shorter in the Lone Star State

Fatiha Betscher

Scottie Scheffler (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler’s odds have shortened in his quest to return to World No. 1 at this week’s hosting of the Cadence Bank Houston Open.

The US$8.4m event is the eighth on the 2022/23 wraparound PGA Tour schedule and takes place at the Memorial Park course just to the west of the city centre in America’s fourth largest city.

Rory McIlroy dethroned Scheffler as World No. 1 in successfully defending last month’s CJ Cup in South Carolina.

In the absence of McIlroy last week at the World Wide Technologies Mayakoba Championship in Mexico, Scheffler teed-up needing to finish, at worst, second on his own to move to back to the top of the world rankings. The reigning Masters champ went close to that target in sharing third place and in the process is now only .2447 of a world ranking point behind McIlroy.

Ahead of the Houston event, Scheffler was asked his thoughts on if it matters getting back to World No. 1.

“Well, it definitely matters to me,” said Scheffler. “I don’t let a ranking define what I think of myself as a player. It was definitely fun being No. 1 in the world and it’s something I hope to get back to, but all my motivation’s always been internal.

“I’m a crazy, crazy competitive person, so for me, I haven’t really needed much outward focus to kind of get motivated to come out and play. If anything, I need to tone myself down a little bit and just let things go and kind of just go out and play.

“As far as being motivated, it’s all internal. I want to be the best and I want to try and win tournaments out here. That’s what’s fun.

“It’s fun being in those moments, it’s fun being able to compete for championships. I’ve dreamed of a long time to be out here on the PGA TOUR and it’s definitely been a lot of fun to be able to compete out here.”

Scheffler clearly delights in tackling the Houston course as he produced a second round 62 in the 2021 on route to sharing second place and then fired a third round 62 a year ago to finish T3rd behind Jason Kokrak.

It’s being predicted that Scheffler now needs maybe a top-4 result this week to take McIlroy’s place in the absence of the World No. 1.

There are no Irish competing in Houston this week, with impressively in-form Seamus Power returning at next week’s RSM Classic at Sea Pines in South Carolina, and the last of the ‘regular’ Tour events this year.

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