Looking back to just over a year ago, there was plenty of hype over Scottie Scheffler in the golf world, but many were unsure if the young man from New Jersey was the real deal. After winning Rookie of the year in 2019 alongside the Korn Ferry Tour, he played on the winning American team in the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, beating Jon Rahm in the process — the hype was real.
Scheffler carried that good form into the new year, and wins in the Arnold Palmer Invitational as well as the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play made him world number one heading to Augusta for the Masters. What followed next was the reason to believe the hype. The reason to believe Scheffler is the real deal.
Draped in the famous green jacket — a symbolic garment for the winner to accompany the Masters’ $2.7 million in prize money, Scheffler picked up his first ever golf major, and assessing the US Masters odds for this year, you wouldn’t put it past him doing it again. Indeed, the likes of Scheffler, Rahm, and American Jordan Spieth are amongst the favourites to reign supreme in Augusta this year, and if the 26-year-old can replicate even a fraction of his form from last year he should stand in good stead. Returning to world number one after winning the Players Championship in Florida, he’ll have it all to do in the Masters.
Having just turned 25 at last year’s event, he was one of the least experienced players competing for the green jacket, yet possessed the calmness of a veteran as he remained in touching distance throughout all the weekend, coming into Sunday with a three-point lead over Cameron Smith. That was about as close as the Australian would get though, as Scheffler continued to extend his lead with a plethora of good shots. It took until the back nine for Scheffler to get his first bogey of the day, but with eventual second-place Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa hitting some beautiful chips, the American knew he couldn’t get complacent just yet.
With outsider Hideki Matsuyama winning the tournament last year, becoming the first Japanese golfer to win the green jacket, there was always the possibility of an upset on the cards, but if anything, the pressure just served as a catalyst for Scheffler to show why he should be world number one.
Approaching the final five holes, Scheffler reminded all of his quality, bringing his score to 12-under for the tournament. It was enough momentum to wrap the win up with a 71 on Sunday, with the American over the moon with his performance.
“I think I felt that way because it’s the Masters,” he said. “I dreamed of having a chance to play in this golf tournament. I teared up the first time I got my invitation in the mail. We were fortunate enough to play here in college, and I love this place. I love this golf course.
“If you’re going to choose a golf tournament to win, this would be the tournament I would want to win. You don’t know how many chances you’re going to get. And so having a chance, you know, I think I had a five-shot lead on Friday and then a three-shot lead going into today, I don’t know if you get better opportunities than that. You don’t want to waste them. After that [birdie and pars at Nos. 4 and 5] I kind of just started cruising,”