As a decorated junior and amateur golfer, it wasn’t a matter of if Scottie Scheffler would have success at the professional level, but when.
He kicked the door down with four wins – including his first major at the Masters – four runner-up and 11 top-10 finishes last year, and the world No. 1 is still rolling in 2023. Across 19 events he hasn’t missed a cut and has 15 top-10 finishes with a pair of wins, a runner-up and a worst finish of T-45 back in October.
“I think if you asked me when I was in college if I could be 27 and have, I think, six wins, a major, and a Players, I’d probably say, yeah, I’m satisfied,” said Scheffler on Tuesday ahead of the 2023 British Open at Royal Liverpool. “But then you get on the other side and you win one tournament and you want to win two, and then two turns into three. It’s just never enough.”
Scheffler leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained Total, Off The Tee, Approach to Green and Tee-to-Green. He ranks first in greens in regulation, third in driving and hasn’t finished outside the top five since April’s RBC Heritage. And he’s still not satisfied with this season, or last for that matter.
“I wasn’t even close to becoming satisfied with last year’s season,” he said of his banner year. “Golf is one of those games where I don’t think you ever really achieve that satisfaction. I think you’re always asking for more.”
Scheffler got more than a taste of winning in 2022, and it’s all he has been craving in 2023, but that doesn’t necessarily mean major success will make or break his year, after all, “a year without winning a major would be pretty similar to the other 25 years of my life,” he joked.
“Yes, it’s so fun to win majors, but I’m not going to sit at the end of the year and look back on the year and be frustrated or upset because I didn’t win a major,” said Scheffler. “It’s not like other sports. As long as I show up with a good attitude and play with a good attitude, that’s mostly what I try to focus on. At times I’m really good at that and at times I struggle with that, but that’s what I focus on.”
It’s tough to pick apart Scheffler’s game these days, especially since he enters this week on a finishes streak of T5-T2-T3-3-3-T4-T3. Ask most pros, and they’ll tell you the players who win on Tour are the best putters or the best ball strikers from week to week. Scheffler is well above the Tour average in all the leading statistical categories except for Strokes Gained: Putting (137th) and one-putt percentage (174th), despite being first in Strokes Gained: Approach and 19th in proximity to the hole.
Despite those numbers, Scheffler doesn’t think his putting is an issue. Ask him, and he’ll tell you the problem lies within his style of golf and how he’s perceived.
“I think I was viewed as probably a touch boring and didn’t really show much emotion and whatever else you could think of,” said Scheffler. “But I think I had back-to-back tournaments that I could have won where I putted poorly, and all of a sudden it became this thing where I’ll watch highlights of my round, and even the announcers, any time you step over the putt it’s like, ‘Well, this is the part of the game he struggles with.’”
“And it’s like, if you say it every time and you guys see me miss a 12-footer it’s like, ‘Oh, there it is. He’s struggling again.’ It’s one of those deals where I don’t pay attention to it,” argued Scheffler. “The things that I’m working on right now I feel very excited about. I’m hitting a lot of good putts. Pretty soon, a lot of those good putts will start falling in the middle of the hole instead of dodging around the side of it.
Win or lose, the result won’t matter for Scheffler this week. He has immense faith in what he’s working on with his game and is hopeful the results will soon follow. Just don’t talk about his putting.