The Rise of Scottie SchefflerPublished on 04/21/2022 · 10 min readLearn more about the World's No. 1 golfer and follow along with Golf Expert Andrew Howard as he chronicles Scottie Scheffler's meteoric rise to the top.
Scottie Scheffler is the first New Jerseyan to ever put on the green jacket! He is a husband, brother to three sisters, man of faith, humble PGA tour player, and now Masters Champion! What a span of eight weeks it has been for the young 25-year-old.
The last time someone won four of their past six events was Jason Day in 2015 with his emotional PGA Championship win. However, he didn’t capture the World No. 1 ranking until the final win of his hot streak at the BMW Championship. Nonetheless, this kind of stuff doesn't happen frequently and Scottie Scheffler is making history before our eyes while we are only one golf Major into the season! Wow!
But wait, who really is Scottie Scheffler?
Contrary to popular belief, Scottie Scheffler was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey—not in Texas, even though he spent four years playing on the golf team at the University of Texas. But Scheffler’s golf days started long before that. Young Scottie started hitting with plastic clubs and toy golf balls, learning to hit shaped golf shots. As reported by the New York Post, Scottie’s youth was dedicated to golf. He loved the sport so much that at the ripe age of five, he would beg his Dad to go to the driving range. He tells the story of wanting to go to the driving range so badly on a below-freezing day that his Dad had to drive him all the way there to prove to him that the range was closed. Talk about dedication!
However, something special took place one time. The owner of the driving range, George Kopac, just happened to be there and gave Scottie a shovel to clean the golf mat and a bucket of range balls. Kopac’s logic was if Scottie was crazy enough to come during the dead of winter, he would leave him out a bucket of range balls each time to practice. Scottie proved to be crazy enough!
Scottie’s practice at the driving range also caught the attention of New Jersey pro golfer Stan Mosel. Mosel was convinced he had never seen talent like this and wanted to work with the young boy for free, even if his father couldn’t afford it.
Little Scheffler practiced his short game many nights, even after darkness fell. His dad was by his side all the way. He would help young Scottie by holding a flashlight at the pin so he could see the hole. However, change was on the horizon. With his mother’s new job offer, the Scheffler's packed up their bags and relocated to Dallas, Texas when Scottie was six years old.
Upon moving there, the Schefflers borrowed $50,000 to join Royal Oaks Country Club. This not only made it easier on the parents as all their kids could play golf in one place, but it also let Scottie work with Randy Smith, the same golf coach he has today. Even in his younger days, he showed natural talent and ability. Scottie was the 2013 Rolex Junior Player of the Year at 17 and also won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur. The list of winners for this tournament is quite impressive and includes Tiger Woods, David Duval, and Jordan Spieth to name a few. Despite all his successes, Scottie has always been well-spoken and humble since the very beginning of his career. It seems that Scottie was destined for golf greatness from a young age and was able to achieve it through his grit and dedication.
Shortly after these top wins, Scottie Scheffler would start a new beginning. He attended the University of Texas for four years, all while playing on the golf team. While receiving a plethora of awards throughout his college career, Scottie also had continuous success winning a few college tournaments, including being the low amateur in the 2017 U.S. Open, finishing in the top 30!
Fast forward two years later. Scottie is a professional golfer seeking to get full playing status on the PGA. That goal came true in 2019 when he had an extremely successful season on the Korn Ferry Tour (another route to get on PGA Tour). He won two times that year and ended up getting the award for being the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year! All the hard work and long hours of practicing were paying off for Scheffler. It was only showing more and more on the bigger stages. That greatly successful season earned Scottie Scheffler his PGA tour card.
Scottie’s first full season on the PGA Tour came in the 2019-2020 season, amassing nearly $3 million in tournament prize money in all the top finishes he had. While he didn't win any tournaments, he did finish 5th in the FedEx Cup points list (the FedEx Cup is awarded to the golfer with the most points by the end of the season at the Tour Championship). All in all, the season was a good one, especially for his first run.
2020-2021 was another stepping-stone season with continued top finishes at Major Championships like top 10’s at the PGA Championship, Open Championship, and U.S. Open. He also played with top-five finishes in other noteworthy events like the WGC Match Play and the Memorial Tournament hosted by legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus. From 2019 to 2021, Scheffler was right there, but he couldn't yet make his way to the winner's circle.
A small change was right around the corner, but the world definitely couldn’t foresee it, nor could Scheffler. Scottie’s start in the 2021 RSM Classic was the beginning of something new. Long-time caddie of Bubba Watson, Ted Scott, joined Scheffler on the bag to be his new official caddie. The new team started out well, shooting a 63 in the first round, however some second and third round struggles lead to a T-57 finish for Scheffler. Just twelve weeks later, something great was coming for Scottie.
In February 2022, the Scottie Scheffler show began in Phoenix for the Waste Management Open. It came down to the final hole. Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler both had birdie putts to win in regulation, but both missed their chances. A sudden-death playoff hole would determine a winner. The dramatic ending lasted three playoff holes! In the third playoff hole, Scheffler would birdie and Cantlay just missed his opportunity, earning Scottie his first win on the PGA Tour! His drive, dedication, faith, and familial support from his parents, sisters, and wife, Meredith all played a huge role in his victory. This victory was one full of tears for Scheffler and his crew, and it proved to be an important one for his confidence going forward. This time, there was a secret ingredient in his recipe for his first victory: Ted Scott. Maybe it was just the excitement and energy of starting a new season that propelled Scheffler to victory, but Ted’s help and veteran experience as a caddie was the only other major change in Scottie’s golf game going into 2022.
Only two weeks later in March, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he would be victorious again, playing amongst another strong field in tough conditions. However, the unwavering Scheffler would pull out another victory. This impressive run of two wins in two weeks was just not enough for the dynamic duo of Ted Scott and Scottie Scheffler. The next tournament on the schedule was the Players Championship—what some golfers consider to be golf’s fifth major as it has one of the strongest fields with the highest level of talent playing. But, it just wasn’t meant to be that week as the famous 17th hole and the rest of the course were playing extremely difficult. It was Cameron Smith to win (who Scheffler ended up playing against in the final round of the Masters).
The winds would change next week at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play where Scheffler finished in second place in 2021. This year proved to have a different result, as Scottie beat Billy Horschel in a tough match in the round of 16. Scottie continued his run into the Final Four to beat notable Dustin Johnson in a strong fashion. Though he was showing great form through the golf tournament, he needed to beat former Champion, Kevin Kisner, for the title. Kisner carried an impressive match play record in this WGC Match Play event, but it was not enough to keep Scheffler down. Scheffler trumped Kisner to pick up the third win of his blazing hot season on the PGA Tour.
After all this success, it was time for Scheffler to prepare himself for the most coveted tournament in golf, The Masters at Augusta National. Scottie Scheffler had so much on his side going into this tournament. Caddie Ted Scott has won two green jackets at the Masters with Bubba Watson; Scottie had self-confidence from his three wins in a short span; he also had the experience of his Top 20 finish in The Masters his previous year. All these things combined proved to be a winning formula for Ted and Scottie.
However, the focus wasn’t on Scottie Scheffler for The Masters. Instead, it was directed to Tiger Woods with his spectacular return. While this should have taken the pressure off Scottie a little bit, it seemed that he was cool, calm, and collected on the golf course. However, he was feeling the intensity of leading a major golf tournament when he got home as he told the media. It was the support from his wife and his unwavering faith that carried him through to the finish line. Nobody in the field could catch Scottie, not even a roaring Rory McIlroy on Sunday. Even with the mounting pressure on hole 18, the par 4, when Scottie Scheffler was putting for birdie, it was all laughs and smiles. He went on to take a four-putt to put the golf ball in the hole in dramatic fashion as Ted Scott coached him through it. He won by three strokes over second-place and posted a -1 under golf score. It was a dominant performance by Scheffler.
The 25-year-old Scottie Scheffler won his first major championship at the 86th Masters in April of 2022. There are only three more majors for Scheffler to win on his journey to getting a career grand slam (winning the Masters, PGA Championship, Open Championship, and U.S Open). Not only was this the first major for Scottie, but it was also his fourth win this season in his continued blazing run.
Scottie is probably off somewhere enjoying himself, reflecting, and trying to take in all of his successes in the past 10 weeks. As he said, he hasn’t even gotten this far in his dreams to be thinking about the way he won the Masters.
Scottie will be teeing it up this week at the Zurich Classic in a doubles format with veteran golfer and past champion of this tournament, Ryan Palmer. Ryan Palmer’s victory with Jon Rahm in 2019 and 7th place finish in 2020 could be a winning recipe for the new doubles team. Add Scottie Scheffler’s hot streak and it could push Palmer and Scheffler over the finish line! We will find out come Sunday the 24th to see who will be crowned the 2022 Zurich Classic Champions.
All in all, Scottie has a lot of the season still in front of him with three majors ahead and plenty of tournaments to win. Who knows what is in store for the newly crowned Master’s Champion, but it could be even more special to the already historic finish for Scheffler. Time will tell!
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