Scottie Scheffler’s game is scary. His focus is even scarier.

Scottie Scheffler’s game is scary. His focus is even scarier.


AUGUSTA, Ga. — Walking up the 18th fairway, his second Masters in hand, a regular human being might have pumped his fist or doffed his cap or smiled through his whiskers. Scottie Scheffler is not normal, not in his golf or his demeanor. It’s part of what makes him so damn dangerous for who knows how long: The release doesn’t come until the clock has been punched. This is a worker doing work. Why emote before it’s over?

“I did my best to stay in the moment,” he said. “And I wanted to finish off the tournament the right way. And I got to soak it in there — after.”

The soaking in can’t come during. The soaking in comes after. It sounds so dang boring. It’s so darn effective.

With an unflinching, final-round 68 on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, Scheffler throttled a worthy leader board to get to 11 under par and ease into his second green jacket in three years, winning by four strokes. It felt both predetermined and like a precursor. He was the heavy favorite heading into the week. A summer of possibility awaits.

More than that, Scheffler is, by now, your sports psychologist’s favorite pupil, a student capable of leading the class. His attitude, wired into his hard drive, is deceptively simple and maddeningly difficult to obtain: What’s past is past. What matters is what’s next. His emotions between shots run the gamut between “L” and “M.” Hearing him talk about his process — “I really try not to focus too much on the past,” he said — could lull you to sleep. But it is essential to his success.

“His commitment, his mind,” said Max Homa, who began the day two back of Scheffler and finished tied for third, seven behind. “He is pretty amazing at letting things roll off his back and stepping up to very difficult golf shots and treating them like their own. He’s obviously a tremendous talent, but I think that is his superpower.”

Achieving golfing greatness is fiction until it becomes fact, a status that is imagined — even fantasized about — by kids on the range and professionals leading tournaments. It is incredibly fragile. So two years ago, when he led the Masters by three shots Sunday morning, Scheffler wept. Not out of excitement. Out of trepidation.

When 2022 began, he hadn’t so much as won on the PGA Tour. By the time the Masters arrived that April, he had ripped off three victories and had risen to the top of the world ranking. Suddenly, he was a stud who had to sleep on the 54-hole lead at the Masters, a known commodity in the sport of whom things were expected. Between tears, he turned to his wife, Meredith, and wondered aloud: Are we ready for this?

“Meredith and I were just a little bit emotional about what was going on at the time because our lives were changing at a very rapid pace,” Scheffler said. “Now I think we have settled more into where our lives are at.”

Where their lives are at: A baby’s on the way, along with all the uncertainties about being first-time parents. But Scheffler’s place in golf is more than secure. It’s cemented. He is not just a golfer on a heater, as he was when he won that first green jacket. He is a formidable force, accomplished and assured in both his process on the course and his place in the game. His performance here this week is worthy of review, but it also takes the mind to a tantalizing place: What’s next? What’s possible?

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a guy out here that tees it up and he’s supposed to win,” Xander Schauffele said, “and he wins.”

So … why not more majors?

“I think you always want more,” Scheffler said.

First, know that even though Scheffler’s two majors — his first two majors — came at the Masters, it doesn’t mean his game is suited to Augusta National over anywhere else. There are horses for courses, of course. Scheffler is not one of them. This is not Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters winner perfectly suited to play here — a lefty with a long, high cut — who has just two top-10 finishes at any other major.

Scheffler’s game will travel to any course, anywhere — including to the PGA Championship next month in Louisville and the U.S. Open in June at Pinehurst. This is a player with a complete toolbox — constantly questioned about his putting, he ranked third in the field this week — and an attitude that would work in any situation. His next round over par will be his first of 2024. He already has ties for second at the 2022 U.S. Open and at last year’s PGA Championship. There’s no doubt he could win either — or both — of those tournaments in the future.

If he allowed himself to ponder such matters.

“I try not to think about the past or the future too much,” Scheffler said. “I love trying to live in the present. I’ve had a really good start to the year, and I hope that I can continue on this path that I’m on. I’m going to continue to put in the work that’s gotten me here. I mean, yeah, that’s pretty much it.”

Why overthink it? On the course or big picture?

This is, of course, a dangerous exercise. Predicting more majors for anyone, regardless of age or form, is pure folly. Rory McIlroy won four from 2011 to 2014, by which point he was just 25. The greatest players in the game — read: Nicklaus, Jack — were saying there were no limits to what he might accomplish. Sunday’s tie for 22nd made him 0 for 35 since. But he knows what Scheffler is thinking about as he plods around these courses in these circumstances.

“Nothing,” McIlroy said. “Not a lot of clutter. The game feels pretty easy when you’re in stretches like this. That’s the hard thing — whenever you’re not quite in form. You are searching, and you are thinking about it so much. But when you are in form, you don’t think about it at all.”

Maybe Scheffler will find himself in that spot someday. Odds would favor such a development because examples abound. Jordan Spieth won three majors in an 11-major stretch between 2015 and 2017. His missed cut this week makes those times seem incredibly distant. Brooks Koepka ran off four from 2017 to 2019, then added the PGA Championship a year ago. At 33, maybe there are more ahead for him. But maybe not.

When Scheffler hit the final chip of his tournament to two feet, he rolled in his putt, then buried his face in the shoulder of his caddie, Ted Scott. Moments later, he raised his arms to the crowd. Only then did a “Whoooo!” from the bottom of his being escape his body.

The work was done, but there is more ahead. Scottie Scheffler has won two majors because his game is, at the moment, unmatched. That’s scary. He could win more, though, because his focus seems woven into his DNA. That’s scarier.


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