Scotty Scheffler made winning the Masters seem like a breeze

Augusta, J.A.; Golf is supposed to be the craziest game, yet Scotty Scheffler made it seem so easy. He didn’t seem more concerned about winning the Masters than he did hitting balls in his backyard in New Jersey when he was just 5 years old, shooting them over his house and into a glamorous future as the best player on the planet.

Yes, while carrying a five-game lead, he turned Green Sunday the 18th into a comic back-and-forth worthy of his childhood days spent at Rockland County mini golf and hopping over the Hudson River. Grinding hard and long for over 71¹/ grueling holes in a brutal path, he decided to loosen up, break that steel grip on his focus, and have some fun. Schaeffler held his mouth in false terror after missing his third shot, inspiring the show to go up and cheer him up, and successfully put the fourth hit of a double bogey into the cup.

But man, did the baby win it?

“I’m going to give myself a free pass on this,” said Schaeffler, wearing his green jacket.

He has a free pass to the Augusta National forever now, as the first Jersey Boy champion.

As it turned out, the path to the 10th under the finish and a three-stroke victory over Rory McIlroy wasn’t as easy as it seemed. On Saturday night, Schaeffler watched some re-runs of the fourth season of his favorite show, The Office, after he spilled his dinner in the car on his way home, much to the delight of his wife, Meredith. But the next morning it was a completely different story. That’s when the weight of the Masters contract fell on him since Friday.

Scotty Scheffler standing with the Masters Trophy.
Scotty Scheffler standing with the Masters Trophy.
Getty Images

“I cried like a baby this morning,” Scheffler said Sunday night. “I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to do.”

He had won three PGA Tour events over the past two months and was already a certified Ryder Cup champ, however Scheffler collapsed for the first time in his career before the final round. He told Meredith that he was not ready for the challenge, and that he felt overwhelmed. She gave her husband an impassioned talk, made him a big breakfast, and calmed Scotty when she got to the office.

“This golf course and the championship are completely different,” Scheffler explained.

He conquered it anyway, showing no fear to the audience in the process. Seventeen years after the day after Tiger Woods dumped his magical and mysterious 16th slide to win his fourth green jacket, Schaeffler sank his car into the third hole to win his first while spending the week wearing Tiger shirts and shoes and swinging with Tiger Irons. Cameron Smith, winner of the Powerful Players Championship from Australia, turned his three-stroke deficit into a one-hit deficit during the first two holes and seemed to be pressing the leader hard.

Scotty Scheffler on the eighteenth green.
Scotty Scheffler on the eighteenth green.
Reuters

The 25-year-old Scheffler chip was known as a study in big game poise.

When the victory was confirmed, Scheffler’s father Scott began to evoke memories of his son’s youth – hitting balls in the snow over 9 watts, then in the pitch-darkness of the nine-hole Orchard Hills course at Bergen Community College. Scott was standing near the flagpole with a flashlight, near his daughters, and Scotty was shooting some drives right at them. “He would yell at us when he hit her,” Scott said. “He was hitting girls.”

The stadium manager kicked Scheffler’s side more than once, at least until Scott convinced the man to master his son’s play. “Then it didn’t bother us anymore,” Scott said. The father learned to walk away from the flag with his flashlight while his son was aiming.

Scotty Shefflers will likely put his final position when he wins the Masters title.
Scotty Scheffler loses his final spot when he wins the Masters title.
Environmental Protection Agency

What a special trip to NJ/NY it was. Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Scotty was 4 years old when he started asking his father to take him to the old driving range at 9W. A veteran and Navy SEAL named George Koback operated the range, he couldn’t believe the power and precision of young Scotty’s swing. On angry winter days, Kopac would leave a boy’s Super Jumbo-sized bucket behind the shed, making sure to clear snow from the rubber tee and grass mat.

The routine was simple: Scotty hit the balls for hours at a closed range, and the Kopac family got them back after the snow melted. So of course, a month after George passed away at the age of 88, all of the Kobacks were glued to their TVs on Sundays in Rockland.

“I wish my dad was here to see what a great guy Scotty became,” Kathy Koback wrote in The Post. “Scotty shed tears of happiness today. I know my dad is there and he says, ‘I knew he would.”

Scotty made it so because his father Scott was a dedicated stay-at-home dad while his mother worked tirelessly as an executive at a Manhattan law firm, and then as a COO at a Dallas law firm. Scott, the son of a car salesman, was raised as a child on a public course in a town (Inglewood Cliffs, NJ) defined by its own standard of living. “We were dead end kids,” Scott said. He was a rough-and-tumble basketball player at the legendary Saint Cecilia High School, which was once the home of soccer coach and hoops by the name of Vince Lombardi. He raised a kid strong enough to win the golf Super Bowl.

“He’s just a cute kid who was born in New Jersey and raised in Texas, and he has a little bit of both, which is cool,” Scott said of his son. “I think it belongs in the world now. It’s public now, which is a bit scary. But it will represent itself well.”

Don’t worry, Scottie Scheffler has already done it.