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Just How Good is Scottie Scheffler

By: | Tue 19 Mar 2024

How good is Scottie Scheffler? The American is the world’s top-ranked golfer and is currently putting together a body of work that has not been seen since Tiger Woods was in his pomp.

His performances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship were simply awe-inspiring. It takes something very special to win back-to-back on the PGA Tour, especially on two such demanding golf courses.

When you look at the way he played at Sawgrass on his way towards becoming the first man to successfully defend the Players Championship it is difficult to believe that he was in such pain during the second round that he very nearly withdrew from the tournament. He battled through when many of his rivals might have chosen to walk off the course.

There will be those who will say that the fields at both tournaments were weakened because the likes of Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka were not in the field. That is poppycock!

Scheffler beat world-class fields at both events.

He is 27-years-old and has already won eight times on the PGA Tour, but that really doesn’t tell the story. He has made 118 starts and made the cut on 99 occasions - he has hardly begun his career. 

Apart from his eight victories, Scheffler has finished second on seven occasions and third 10 times. There’s more - he has 36 top fives and 49 top 10s. And he has earned almost $54m in prize money. Those are truly remarkable statistics. 

He has already won nearly $11m this season - and we have still not played the year’s first major. 

Scottie Scheffler

In seven starts in 2024 he already has two wins and six top 10s. His worst finish came at the American Express, where he was 17th. And he has yet to shoot a single over-par round in competitive play.

There are those who say that his putting is suspect. Tell that to the players he beat at Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass. 

He finds 62% of fairways and hits 72% of greens in regulation. Nobody hits more greens in the expected number than Scheffler, and that means he only needs to be an average putter to contend. 

He will be the first to admit that he struggled with the short stick in 2023 but he has finally worked things out. He is now in the top 25 in putts per round. When he walked off the final green at Sawgrass he had gone 172 holes without a three-putt - this from a man with a supposedly dodgy putting stroke.

All of this means that when he is at his best he is almost unbeatable. 

Tellingly, when he misses the green he is one of the best on tour when it comes to scrambling. His scoring average is 67.41 and he averages 5.48 birdies per round.

Scheffler leads the way in a mind-boggling number of categories - bogey avoidance, bounce back after a bogey, strokes gained total, strokes gained off the tee, strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained approach to the green, final round scoring average, birdies per round.

His first full season was 2019-20. He played in 23 events and made 18 cuts with seven top 10s and 13 top 25s. He played well enough to make it to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, finishing fifth at the season-ending Tour Championship and being named rookie of the year.

The following season (2020-21) he made 24 cuts in 29 starts. It was a season of near-misses for Scheffler. He was a beaten finalist at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, third at The Memorial, and enjoyed top-10 finishes at the US Open, The Open and US PGA. He earned $4.5m and finished 22nd in the FedEx Cup. It was progress, but that first victory still eluded him.

He put that right in 2021-22 - in some style. In 25 starts he made 21 cuts. His maiden victory came at the 2021 Phoenix Open, where he revelled in that tournament’s unique atmosphere. The following week he was tied seventh at the Genesis. Then came a quite remarkable run - he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play and The Masters. He had secured his first major and had won four times in six starts.

He also finished tied third at the BMW Championship and tied second at the Tour Championship as he finished the season in second place in the FedEx Cup and earned $14m.

If anything, his play in 2022-23 was even better. There were 23 starts and not a single missed cut. He won the Phoenix Open again and stormed to a five-shot victory at the Players Championship. He was tied 10th at The Masters, tied second at the US PGA, third at the US Open and tied 23rd at The Open.

In an extraordinary run that started at the Worldwide Technology Open in November 2022, he began a run of 19 tournaments during which his worst finish was a tie for 12th. Apart from his two victories, he was twice a runner-up and finished in the top 10 on 17 occasions. He finished sixth in the FedEx Cup standings and pocketed $21m in prize money.

It is a period of sustained excellence that has seen Scheffler extend his lead at the top of the world rankings. He also leads the 2024 FedEx Cup standings by a country mile.

Scheffler also possesses a wonderful temperament. He takes everything in his stride and commentators never have to apologise for his language.

He has still only one that solitary major and that is the thing he will be looking to put right in 2024. Would anybody currently bet against him winning The Masters again in April? Or any of the other majors for that matter. 

I urge you to enjoy Scheffler’s play while you can - this is as good as golf gets.

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Tags: scottie scheffler PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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