Scheffler eclipses Woods in OWGR points haul, but there’s a ‘what if?’

Mark McGowan

Tiger Woods and Scottie Scheffler at the Hero World Challenge (Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Six wins, his second major championship title and over $27 million in on-course earnings, Scottie Scheffler is having quite the year, there’s no denying that. He’s also accumulated 583 world rankings points (24 of these are bonus points for multiple victories) in the first six months which eclipses the 532 earned by Tiger Woods in the first half of his record-breaking 2000 year.

Woods had five victories in the same time span, including wins at the Bay Hill Invitational – as it was then called – and the Memorial Tournament, and one major championship which came at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open, so it’s only natural to make comparisons.

But there’s a pretty big caveat when it comes to Scheffler’s victories and that, of course, is LIV. With the exception of Rory McIlroy who elected to withdraw from the Travelers Championship following the heartbreaking nature of his defeat in the U.S. Open, all of the leading PGA Tour players have been present for each of Scheffler’s victories, but only in the Masters can he truly say that he’s beaten all of the top players in the world.

This is not Scheffler’s fault, of course, and he can only beat what’s in front of him, but the absence of Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann and several of the other big names on the LIV circuit continues to water down every regular and signature PGA Tour event.

Maybe Scheffler would still have won the five tournaments that they weren’t present for regardless, but we’ll never know. When Woods won at Bay Hill and finished runner-up to Hal Sutton at The Players Championship a week later, all of the leading players in the world were there, even Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood who were the leading European Tour players and didn’t take up PGA Tour membership.

In the remaining six months, Woods would encounter all of the best players in the world on four occasions and he’d three of these (the Open Championship, PGA Championship and WGC NEC Invitational), ultimately finishing the year with a record of 2-1-2-5-1-1-1-1-5 in the nine tournaments that could genuinely claim to have all the big hitters present.

In Scheffler’s case, that’s 1-8-41, and significantly DeChambeau has finished ahead of him in two of the three tournaments and been one of his closest challengers in the third.

From the evidence, it’s clear that the PGA Tour that we’re being treated to in 2024 is a watered down version, so even if Scheffler goes on to win another five times including at Royal Troon in four week’s time and eclipse Woods’ 10 victories in 2000, Woods will have a stronger claim to the greatest season of all time in my opinion.

Talor Gooch became a laughing stock for suggesting that a Rory McIlroy victory at Augusta National should be accompanied by an asterisk because Gooch and select others weren’t in the field, but there was a little merit at least in what he was saying. I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest placing an asterisk beside Scheffler’s five non-major wins, but it’s footnote worthy at least.

Whether we ever get all the leading players in the world together again outside of the major championships is not yet clear, but until we do, a big-time PGA Tour victory will always carry a little whiff of ‘what if?’

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