Gentlemen 2022: Scotty Schaeffler’s cool header ignites a historic hot streak, and a career run to the green jacket

Augusta, GA – Most of the Masters champions start crying as soon as they slip on the green jacket. Scottie Scheffler cried shortly after waking up Sunday morning before the final round began.

Scheffler, who has now won four of the last six golf tournaments and earned $9 million in the last 57 days, won the 2022 Masters by three strokes over Rory McIlroy with a 1-under 71 shot to finish in the under-10 this week. There were standout shots on Sunday, of course. He broke into a funny bird at No. 3. He got No. 9, No. 14 and No. 15 too. But it was his presence — his refusal to rush even when the tournament got a little fun — and the long, slow Texans walking up and down the lanes of Augusta National that stood out above all else.

Scheffler is a huge talent. With 2022 coming on the heels of a singles victory over then-world number one John Ram in the 2021 Ryder Cup, every stat imaginable suggested he would win sooner and win a lot. But then again, when you’re zero to 70 on the PGA Tour to start your career, you have to go out and win.

Scheffler did so in groups beginning in mid-February. He’s performed at the Phoenix Open, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as part of a passionate run on the march toward this 86th Masters. He probably seemed surprised at how quickly he climbed to number one in the world more than we did.

“I’ve always wanted to be here, and never expected to,” he said Sunday evening at Augusta National. “I never expected to be sitting where I am right now. You know, you don’t expect things to come to you in this life. You just do the best you can with your hand and go from there.”

“I didn’t really think I was good at golf, so I just kept practicing and kept working hard, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”

In fact, Schaeffler has always been good at golf. You don’t win the Junior American Amateur titles and make up the Walker Cup unless your talent is off the charts.

But there are plenty of rookies out there who can swing and not make it to the press center podium on Sunday evening in Augusta. What apparently sets Scheffler apart is his poised demeanor, which was a struggle in high school and college. This is also why what he described on Sunday evening came as such a surprise.

It could have been a stray early Sunday for Schaeffler. He undermined the first two holes while Cameron Smith was always serious, and playing in the last pairing alongside Scheffler, he birded and pulled a one-stroke for the 36- and 54-hole leader.

Scheffler must have thought briefly of what he had said to his wife, Meredith, several hours earlier. They fell asleep watching The Office on Saturday night as it tried to calm the tension that accompanies holding the Masters until Sunday.

In the morning, the pressure overwhelmed him.

“This morning it was a completely different story,” Scheffler said. “I cried like a baby this morning. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to do. I was sitting there telling Meredith, ‘I don’t think I’m ready for this. I’m not ready. I don’t feel like I’m ready for that kind of thing. And I just felt exhausted.'”

Schaeffler’s emotions are reminiscent of those described by Shane Lowry in 2019 during the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

“I think I woke up this morning not sure if I had what it would take to win the Major,” Lowry said after my Claret Jug win.

Schaeffler used different words on Sunday, but the context was the same.

“I suspect [I felt that way] “Because they are the masters,” Scheffler said. “I dreamed of getting a chance to play this golf tournament. It ripped the first time I got my mail invite. We were lucky enough to play here in college, and I love this place. I love this golf course.”

“If you were to pick a golf tournament to win, that would be the tournament I wanted to win. You don’t know how many chances you’re going to have. So I have a chance, you know, I think I got a five-shot lead on Friday and then a three-shot lead today. I don’t know if you’ll get better chances than that. You don’t want to waste them.”

Schaeffler did not waste what he had. He came in third from an impossible spot where he made Smith a ghost, and in no time did anyone stay within twice his lead.

“after that [birdie and pars at Nos. 4 and 5] I just started sailing,” Scheffler added.

With McIlroy posted in front of him 64 record-breaking champions – Today’s Tour And Championship by three strokes – Scheffler put on a Clinical Master’s in the second nine. Count on the pack Ted Sectum, who won two of those in the Bubba Watson bag, while playing clean, intelligent golf whose age (25) and experience (10 top players) lied before this week.

Schaeffler then finished 18th, hit the green in two and had six kicks to win. Incredibly, he used four of them as he missed 7ft 5s to win the Masters before finally pouring 3fts into the trophy.

He said it’s the first time all day he’s let his mind drift away from the fact that he’s going back to this tournament for the rest of his life. I showed.

When he finally reached the championship clinch, Schaeffler raised his fists and cheered the sponsors who deserted him across four straight days and 72 holes.

But he did not cry.

Tears had already been spent that morning in the rented house the Schefflers shared with Sam Burns and his wife Caroline. As Schaeffler grappled with the mammoth task of fending off Smith McIlroy and the rest of the world’s best fields – in a tournament that turned the biggest talent to ashes in Sundays history – he said his wife’s words were a balm.

A big Texan who never seems too high or too low on the golf course couldn’t even handle the idea of ​​what he could carry today.

This is the magic of Augusta National. You think you have her keys; Then they add another lock. It’s Sophie. More than the sum of its parts predicts it will be.

Think of it this way: The #1 player in the world, who beat everyone he looked at for two months in a row, was terrified of driving into Magnolia Lane on Sunday afternoon.

Rick Gehmann, Kyle Porter and Greg Ducharme respond to dominant Scottie Schaeffler’s victory in the 2022 Masters Tournament. Go ahead and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcast And spotify.

Fear of failure is a unique human condition. One might say it’s a feature, not a bug. We do not want to let down those who believe in us. We don’t want the world to remind us of what we can’t do.

The fear of success, though, is much more terrifying. When you fear success, what you really fear is that either people will look at you in disbelief (“Wait, who – which the man? ”) or the fact of your success does not satisfy your soul.

Scheffler seemed to have enough humility to deal with the former, but his wife needed to advise him about the latter.

“My identity is not golf,” Scheffler said. As Meredith told me this morning, ‘If you win this golf course today, if you lose this golf tournament by ten bullets, if you never win another golf championship again…I still love you, you will still be the same person. Jesus loves you, and nothing has changed.’ All I’m trying to do is glorify God and that’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m in a position.

“Medith always prays for peace because that’s what I want to feel on the golf course is peace and fun and I just feel there. So, this is her prayer every day. This is my prayer, and I really felt it today. I just felt that. Peace.”

Self-described high school and college are now one of the quietest players on the PGA Tour. At least on the golf course. His belief clearly influences his identity and isolates him from buying lies that a golf tournament is a life-or-death event.

Questions remain, though. They always will – about our profession, our upbringing, our performance as human beings.

Coincidentally, McIlroy’s words from last fall after winning the CJ Cup fit right here. “I kind of realized that being me was enough,” he said after winning.

For Schaeffler, “being me” was enough, with or without a green jacket. Meredith reminded him on Sunday morning that life is bigger than golf. But as he smiled in amazement as the afternoon turned into evening and slipped a green jacket around his torso, he also realized that he Scotty Scheffler, golfer It was enough as well. At least for this week.

“I mean, it’s Augusta National,” Scheffler said. “It’s as amazing as it gets. It’s so much fun. I can’t believe I could go back for a lifetime and enjoy this golf course.”