World number one Scottie Scheffler is playing to a level of consistency not seen since a certain Tiger Woods was in his pomp, but in a nine-month stretch where he’s yet to finish outside the top-12 in any tournament, just one victory leaves a bittersweet taste in the big Texan’s mouth.
“Golf-wise? I would say golf-wise I’m very proud of how I’ve been so consistent,” he said when asked how satisfied he is with the year’s work to date. “It’s definitely the most consistent golf that I’ve played, and I think I’ve played the most consistent golf this year which I’m definitely proud of. I would obviously like to win more.
“But if I win eight times, I want to win nine. If I win nine, I want to win ten. Golf is one of those games that you’re never really satisfied and it’s kind of like life, too, you’re never really satisfied with the results of things and you always want more. But I’m definitely very proud of how I’ve played so far this year.”
Scheffler was talking to the media ahead of the Genesis Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick, and spoke of the instant affinity he felt for links golf when he travelled to Scotland for the first time two years previous.
“I think that I liked it from the beginning,” he said. “It’s fun to play. I like the ability to have to hit all different kind of shots. I like the way that around the greens I can use any type of club. I think it’s more the way golf was designed to be played and coming over here, and getting to do it for a few weeks a year is definitely great fun. So yeah, I love it.”
Leading the PGA Tour in scoring average, strokes gained total, strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained approach, Scheffler ranks 133rd in strokes gained putting and questions about his performance with the short stick have come thick and fast when he addresses the media, not that he’s about to let statistics or press perception influence the way he goes about his business.
“I think that it’s all just perception,” he said. “I’m not going to let what you guys think about my golf game affect how I think of my golf game. I believe that I’m a very good putter, and everything returns to the average.
“If you’re hitting the ball as good as I have been in the past year, it’s very, very difficult to make all the putts. I don’t really get to choose what kind of putts I have. I typically play later in the day. I’ve been on top of leaderboards for a long time. So as far as my golf game goes, I feel like the things I’ve been working on to improve have been working significantly. As my putting struggles have continued in y’alls’ minds, I’ve gotten back to No. 1 in the world and I’ve had a bunch of top five finishes. Granted, if I can make a few more putts, those would have been more wins.”
With the U.S. Senate hearing regarding the proposed PGA Tour and PIF merger happening yesterday, Scheffler was understandably coy about getting too deep into the weeds on a fluid situation, but did admit that the lack of clarity from a player’s perspective was frustrating.
“As a player on tour,” he explained, “we still don’t really have a lot of clarity as to what’s going on and that’s a bit worrisome. They keep saying it’s a player-run organisation, and we don’t really have the information that we need. I watched part of yesterday and didn’t learn anything. So I really don’t know what to say.
“I think the Tour is working hard to try to get us more information but like I said, it’s tough when you’re in negotiations to make everything public. It’s hard to negotiate the public side. I understand the privacy of it but I just wish that definitely our player reps need to be more involved in the process.”
Despite a reticence to spill any details of the discussions that players have been having behind the scenes, he took exception to the suggestion that the last year’s players’ meeting in Delaware, where Tiger Woods flew in to join 19 of the game’s biggest names and from which the genesis of the designated events derived, was a complete waste of time in hindsight.
“I don’t think so at all,” he contended. “I think when the merger announcement, it may have felt like a waste of time but at the end of the day, I think it because good to get everybody together.
“I think that we are banded together as players and I think you saw the article that came out on Patrick [Cantlay] a few weeks ago, and a lot of guys were posting on their social media and stuff like that because it was a ridiculous article.
“That’s what I appreciate as a player is having my voice heard and being able to come to a consensus with all the players and kind of go from there and that’s what we are working towards right now is try to get a consensus. We are a player-run organisation, so we are doing our best as players to make it feel that way.”