Ruthless Scheffler joins Tiger and Jack at the table after Players win

Ronan MacNamara
|
|

Scottie Scheffler Players Champion (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler became just the third player to hold the Masters and PLAYERS Championship titles at the same time, after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods following his clinical five-shot win at TPC Sawgrass.

Teeing off with a two-shot lead, Scheffler recovered from an early wobble to dominate Sunday’s final round as he won for the second time this season and returned to world number one.

In what resembled the erratic nature of a Premier League top-4 race, several players from the chasing pack looked like they might be the one to carry the challenge to Scheffler but equally they all looked like they didn’t want it and one by one they fluttered shots away before the Texan stood on their throats with a five birdie stretch either side of the turn.

Helped by a chastening Min Woo Lee triple on the fourth hole, before Hideki Matsuyama saw his late challenge go up in smoke almost as quickly as it started, Scheffler ran riot.

A chip in birdie on 8 was the turning point before Lee bogeyed, as Scheffler roared four clear, and from there, he left everyone in his wake. Birdies on 9, 10, 11 and 12 followed as the new world number one cruised to victory.

Scheffler’s wins have developed a pattern, clinical, dominant, steady golf. Some might say boring, but it’s ruthless. A very likeable ho hum guy off the course, family orientated, but with a killer instinct in competition.

The Masters champion dropped just five shots all week on a course where you can rack up birdies as easily as you can shoot big numbers. Scheffler doesn’t shoot big numbers, and that was the difference.

It was a routine 69 for seventeen-under total and it was a procession on the back nine.

The 26-year-old loves the spring part of the season having won the Waste Management back-to-back, won at Bay Hill, the Match Play, the Masters and now the PLAYERS.

Each win has been in front of family, with his 88-year-old grandmother following each and every shot this week.

“It’s a lot of fun [having the family on site]. Long day, tough day. I knew the conditions were going to get really hard late and I did a really good job of staying patient, not trying to force things, and then I got hot kind of in the middle of the round and, yeah, tried to put things away as quickly as I could.

“My dad’s staring at me making it so much harder. Yeah, it’s pretty special. They haven’t been able to come out in a while. We got a newborn nephew who is about nine months old, so he’s doing well. He’s out here somewhere, I think. He’s around. He’s probably asleep. But it’s been a lot of fun to have the whole family out this week and we’re going to really celebrate.”

There were at least, some back nine fireworks on Sunday from Tyrrell Hatton who remarkably claimed second place and $2.7 million with a historic back nine of 29, capped off with a boomerang second shot on 18 to set up a fifth birdie in a row.

Scheffler’s wins appear so routine that Hatton’s back nine might be the highlight of the tournament.

“I mean, it’s just in that moment I don’t think there was — sure, it was a risky shot, but it never crossed my mind to just try and chip out,” said Hatton. “The wind was sort of in off the left so it was kind of helping me with the shot that I could — at the end of the day, I was just trying to cut it, and over-cutting it is going to be a better miss than coming out dead straight.

“What made it more good was the lie, the fact that I couldn’t get the club properly behind the ball and had to hover it quite far back.

“But, yeah, for it to come out as well as it did, obviously I was delighted with. Then, yeah, very happy to hole the putt at the end of it.”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.