Scottie Scheffler puts on a show for second Masters title - Hindustan Times
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Scottie Scheffler puts on a show for second Masters title

ByJoy Chakravarty, Augusta
Apr 16, 2024 12:22 AM IST

The American world No.1 turned the final nine holes into a victory procession, winning the year’s first major by four shots.

Scottie Scheffler winning golf tournaments is as much a certainty as death and taxes. As the chasing pack wilted in the intense scrutiny of a Masters Sunday, the American world No.1 showed immense class in winning his second Green Jacket in three years, the third title in his last four starts.

Scottie Scheffler of the United States celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta (Getty Images via AFP)
Scottie Scheffler of the United States celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta (Getty Images via AFP)

Single-handedly, with one magnificent shot after another, he sucked out every bit of thrill and drama from the first major of the year. Winning on the Augusta National Golf Club course is not supposed to be this easy.

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The second nine in the final round is where the tournament comes alive. Every shot from the ninth hole onwards feels like an adventure, and as the field made decisive mistakes, Scheffler was as sure-footed as Indiana Jones in pursuit of the ultimate treasure in golf. His performance was so fantastic, he could have turned around and said: “I am making this up as I go.”

Scheffler did drop a shot on the 11th hole, but he never missed a shot. Even the bogey came after he had placed his second shot in a position that was A-1. His closest rivals cracked -- Collin Morikawa made double bogeys on the ninth and 11th; Ludvig Aberg on the 11th and Max Homa on the par-3 12th -- while the big Texan continued to distance himself, making six birdies in his last 11 holes.

The performance becomes even more remarkable considering his wife Meredith is expecting their first child anytime. Scheffler maintained throughout that he’d pull out of the tournament the moment she was ready for delivery.

Perhaps that helped. With so much occupying his mind, he somehow blocked out the dangers that lurked in every corner of the course. It’s not just the way he won the Masters, but how he has been playing lately. In the last month-and-a-half, Scheffler has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Players Championship and was second in the Houston Open.

Shot making has always been his strength, but the one area in which Scheffler gave hope to his rivals was his performance on the greens. However, he was impeccable with the putter last week.

Scheffler needed just 109 putts for his 72 holes, an average of 1.51 per hole; he hit 46 greens in regulation and had just two three-putts all week. Given how firm the golf course became over the weekend after the rains on Thursday morning, those are impressive stats.

Scheffler has now amassed almost double the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points than world No.2 Rory McIlroy. It’s almost Tiger Woods-like dominance. He leads by a staggering 6.3373 average points, nearing double of McIlroy’s tally of 7.6539 average points. None of those are going to change Scheffler, an extremely down-to-earth and religious person.

“I believe that today’s plans were already laid out many years ago, and I could do nothing to mess up those plans. I have been given a gift of this talent, and I use it for God’s glory. That's pretty much it,” said Scheffler after his 11-under par tally.

“So, when I’m out there, I try to compete to the best of my abilities. I really want to win. I feel like that’s how I was designed. That’s always been a part of me, and I don’t think that should be going away anytime soon. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either.

“At the end of the day, I get to come out here and compete, have fun, enjoy it; and then at the end of the day, win or lose, my identity is secure.”

And if the experience of becoming a father for the first time is going to make any difference, there is another thought coming for his rivals. Scheffler said he is not taking his eyes off the ball.

“I will go home, soak in this victory tonight. I will definitely enjoy the birth of my first child. That being said, I still love competing,” Scheffler added.

“My priorities will change here very soon. My son or daughter will now be the main priority, along with my wife, so golf will now be probably fourth in line. But I still love competing. I don’t plan on taking my eye off the ball anytime soon, that's for sure.”

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