We’re Witnessing Greatness With Scheffler’s Dominance
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We’re Witnessing Greatness With Scheffler’s Dominance

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We’re Witnessing Greatness With Scheffler’s Dominance

There is something different about how Scottie Scheffler has become a multiple major winner.

Different than Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and everyone else who has accomplished the feat in the past decade.

Different than everyone else in recent memory except for Tiger Woods.

Scheffler is more dominant than the peers before him. He is more predictable. His life is more balanced. He is less prone to injury.

And, like Woods before him, Scheffler is the only man of this era who can play average golf—relative to his remarkable baseline—and still win the game’s biggest events without even being fully challenged.

That is what it felt like as he cruised to victory in the 88th Masters.

The final result was in doubt for long stretches on both Saturday and Sunday but Scheffler responded with outstanding resilience each time. Eventually, he wore down the competition.

On Saturday, Scheffler made a mess of the 10th hole by going long and taking a double-bogey. When he made another mistake at the 11th to fall to 4-under for the tournament, it appeared like the momentum had flipped to Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and other challengers.

But Scheffler did what he normally does, responding with an eagle on the par-5 13th and later a statement birdie on the par-4 18th. When Saturday ended, he had clawed back into the lead.

Through three rounds, Scheffler’s normally sublime approach play was pedestrian by his standards. Even after the final round, he only ranked No. 15 in Strokes Gained approach—his super power was limited but he made it work through a cumulative effect of great driving, great scrambling and above-average putting.

On Sunday, Scheffler had shaky moments early and found himself in a dogfight, tied for the lead after making a sloppy bogey at the par-4 seventh. Many figured it would go down to the wire.

Then the championship DNA kicked in as he went 5-under the rest of the way and didn’t make a single error.

Everyone else faltered around him. Ludvig Aberg, who was otherwise brilliant, found the water on the 11th. So did Morikawa. Homa went long on No. 12 and couldn’t recover.

With two hours left in coverage, everyone knew it was over. That is how reliable Scheffler has become.

Last month, I wrote about why Scheffler was on pace to win no fewer than five tournaments this season. He has already collected two more wins since then—The Players and the Masters—and we still have three more majors remaining this year.

The stats are pretty clear: Scheffler is miles better than everyone else. His worst round since August is a 72. Since October 2022, he has finished outside the top 25 of a tournament one time. He almost won the Houston Open with his C+ game. And as I’ve talked about before, we’re in a time period when the game’s best players are mostly stagnant, getting older or fading from the spotlight they once had.

It makes you wonder what else is on the table for this 27-year-old Texan who is about to become a father.

We are all prisoners of the moment. Recency bias can cause exaggeration, especially in a game where majors are so difficult to win. Life will change for Scheffler, who now is showing up to every big event with a large target on his back.

It does feel, however, that Scheffler’s realistic potential is to become a legend of the game. Getting to six majors is well within the realm of possibility. Completing a career grand slam is a possibility. Being an all-time great is a possibility.

You have to say Scheffler is firmly among the top American athletes in any sport at the moment.

What is going to stop him from continuing to win?

So many of the pitfalls that have caused star players to stall are not factors in Scheffler’s profile.

He isn’t like Spieth, who rode a hot putter to overcome ball-striking deficiencies. Scheffler’s putter only needs to be average for him to win.

He isn’t like Johnson, who prioritized money over maximizing his on-course success.

He isn’t like McIlroy, who leans on his driver to overcome obvious shortcomings in short-iron play, scrambling and putting. Scheffler’s short game is superb. He led the Masters field in Strokes Gained around the greens this year.

His mental game is better. His swing is so athletic. His family is the most important part of his life.

Anything can happen in life but Scheffler has every tool to be the most dominant player of his generation. He’s the man to beat every time he tees is up and that sets up a long-term storyline for us to track for the next five, 10 or even more years.

We’re witnessing greatness now. That is the ultimate honor for golf fans.

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Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean is a longtime golf journalist and underachieving 8 handicap who enjoys the game in all forms. If he didn't have an official career writing about golf, Sean would spend most of his free time writing about it anyway. When he isn't playing golf, you can find Sean watching his beloved Florida Panthers hockey team, traveling to a national park or listening to music on his record player. He lives in Nashville with his wife and dog (of course the dog's name is Hogan).

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm





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      John

      1 month ago

      We’ll have to see if Scheffler sets himself apart over the long haul. I would argue that there are two other factors in play. (1) dozens of of new players are coming out of college and amateur ranks each year ready to play with the big boys; (2) prize money: the masters paid out 540K for 10th place, 260k for 20th. At what point does that become good enough. I agree that Scheffler looks like he’s different, but we’ll see.

      Reply

      PHDrunkards

      1 month ago

      He’s 27 playing like a 40 year veteran. A real Texas bull.
      May be he got the monkey off his back with this win. If he did, and he feels grounded, he could win 5, 6 or 7 Masters, quite easily. Course suits him well because of his short game that you have to have at Augusta. Everybody will drive into the pine straw now and again, having to punch out, but getting up and down from those places is the difference that he does have.
      Yup, the question will be whether becoming a father and having to drag a family around changes his life dynamics. His skill is unquestionable. So it’s the background stuff.
      And what of the ball????? When that happens, the back tees won’t used, correct? IF is happens, I guess lol

      Reply

      HAC

      1 month ago

      No question that he is fabulous, but in two years will we be talking this way about Aberg instead? To be in the category of Tiger or even Phil. Scottie needs to putt like he did this weekend consistently, and he needs to not get injured – see players like Spieth and Jason Day.

      Like Scheffler a lot and hope he continues to do really well, but there seems to be a lot of young competition.

      Reply

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