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Masters champion Scottie Scheffler’s faith and focus make him unshakable, and perhaps, unstoppable

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — With roughly 90 minutes left in the 2024 Masters, Scottie Scheffler stepped to the 13th tee box with a four-stroke lead and one arm in his second green jacket. About 220 yards in front of him, a scoreboard volunteer rotating names and numbers for each pairing on the 13th fairway left his post and clambered down the metal green ladder to put his feet on grass.

Who could blame this man for abandoning the best seat in the house? Scheffler was the last player on the course at Augusta National. The volunteer’s job was done. And at that point in the tournament, there was simply nothing left to see.

Patrons may have showed up on Masters Sunday itching for a down-to-the-wire brawl between the greatest flushers in the game, but what they received was a dominant showing from a golfer on a historic trajectory.

It was close early. Scheffler, who led by one stroke entering the final round, passed the lead around with Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Ludvig Åberg through the first few holes. They all co-led at one point around the 8th. Then Scheffler hit ’em with a birdie-birdie-birdie knockout blow making the turn, and his peers staggered to the finish. 

Scheffler birdied the 8th, hit it to 6 inches on No. 9 for another and poured in a third straight on No. 10. Morikawa, Homa and Åberg all made doubles between the 10th tee box and the 12th green. Our nameless volunteer unofficially called it before the final putt.

Scheffler scored three more birdies for good measure, rolling to a 68, the second-best round of anyone in the field Sunday. It was certainly special because it was a 68 to win the Masters, but as far as scores go, it was basically middle of the road for him this year. 

Across 35 rounds in 2024, Scheffler has carded nothing worse than 72. Let’s restate that.

In 35 appearances on some of the toughest golf courses in the world, Scheffler has shot one score worse than 71. And that 72 actually came this week, on Friday, amid some of the windiest golf in recent major championship history. 

Scheffler’s scoring average across those 35 rounds is a comical 67.6. he has not scored over par in a round in 232 days (Aug. 26, 2023).

The No. 1 player in the world has lost to one golfer since March 1 and won three of his last four events. He has a bookend Masters to go with a bookend Players Championship he clinched earlier this year. He has faced 934 opponents in nine events so far this year and lost to just 37 of them.

Scheffler’s game is relentless. As players around him found all the water and flora Augusta National has to offer, he found the fattest part of Augusta’s greens — on repeat. He again led the field from tee to green and credited his underrated short game for getting it done this week.

The statistics appear fake. In the seven events where all four rounds have been measured by lasers, including this week at teh Masters, Scheffler has finished either first, second or third among the field in strokes gained tee to green. 

He is facing the best players in the world at these events.

Objectively, Scheffler is not only the best iron player in the world but nearly the best off the tee and around the greens. This objective data alone makes him unfair.

And this is not a temporary heater, either. Since Jan. 1, 2022 — a span that has included nine wins and two green jackets — Scheffler has gained nearly 575 strokes against the field. The next best player in that span is Rory McIlroy, who has gained only around 475. Scheffler has been 100 shots better than the second-best player in the world over the last two years. He’s been nearly 200 shots better than the fifth-best player (Patrick Cantlay). All of this is sustainable and real.

Subjectively, Scheffler is even more problematic for his peers because he is also among the best course managers in the game — more mentally and emotionally in control of what he does on the course than anyone else in the world, somebody tough enough to battle through a locked up neck to win the Players Championship. Oh, and he’s also a competitive dog who roared back after kicking away his lead Saturday with a fist-pumping eagle on the 13th hole that signaled the inevitability of what to come.

Sunday’s victory was historic. Since World War II, only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros have won two Masters by age 27. Scheffler is now on that short list. He’s also 40% of the way to the Scottie Slam: the Players Championship and all four majors. He will be the unquestionable favorite at the next three majors, and at this point, it would be nearly foolish to not pick him.

Will Scheffler win an actual, bonafide grand slam? He will need some luck, but he has a better chance than almost anyone in recent memory not named Tiger. The last time a grand slam chase got real was in 2015 when Jordan Spieth won the first two majors of the year and threatened to win a third 70 holes into that tournament.

It struck me Sunday as the second nine unfurled and patrons hustled toward Amen Corner that Scheffler is different than his peers. He was walking upstream toward the 11th tee as the crowd rushed like water toward the green to see what he would do.

This is emblematic of how he lives. Scheffler, unlike most other golfers, is Very Not Online. He has not spoken much about the PGA Tour’s pending deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, generally distancing himself from drama. He seems quite disinterested in anything other than playing some of the best golf that has ever been played between caring for his family and friends. 

After being involved in “Full Swing” Season 1, Scheffler was absent from Season 2. I promise you, it was not Netflix’s decision to exclude the No. 1 golfer in the world from its docuseries.

Scheffler is guided by his Christian faith, about which he has become increasingly vocal. He spoke about it before the tournament started. About how he is not defined by his golf score or his success but rather his faith.

Inverse to the control he exerts over his game and emotions during tournaments, he has seemingly ceded control of everything else, both on and off the course.

“I believe that today’s plans were already laid out many years ago, and I could do nothing to mess up those plans,” Scheffler said Sunday after becoming the 10th golfer in history to win two green jackets in a three-year span. “I have been given a gift of this talent, and I use it for God’s glory. That’s pretty much it.”

While Scheffler is not devoted to his faith for the purpose of winning golf tournaments — quite the opposite, in fact — in listening to him speak about it, one would find it difficult for a golfer to have a better mindspace. He holds the line between “cares a lot” and “identity not tethered to outcome” perfectly.

This is not a state of mind he works hard on adopting like other golfers; it’s simply his belief system. It’s who he is.

“I was sitting around with my buddies this morning, I was a bit overwhelmed,” Scheffler said Sunday evening. “I told them, ‘I wish I didn’t want to win as badly as did I or as badly as I do.’ I think it would make the mornings easier.

“I love winning. I hate losing. I really do. And when you’re here in the biggest moments, when I’m sitting there with the lead on Sunday, I really, really want to win badly.

“And my buddies told me this morning my victory was secure on the cross. And that’s a pretty special feeling to know that I’m secure for forever and it doesn’t matter if I win this tournament or lose this tournament. My identity is secure for forever.”

The freedom Scheffler’s faith provides — allowing him to be secure in himself knowing all that’s required is doing the best he can any given week — is a trait professional golfers strive to achieve through myriad psychological tricks, coaches and techniques.

That this belief system is built into the best player on the planet is an extraordinary benefit. In fact, it’s among the reasons why he’s the best player on the planet.

Anything is possible with Scheffler’s career. I would believe anything at this point. He could win 30 more events. He might win six additional majors. There is evidence in both his game and his contentedness in life that this stretch of success can go on for quite some time.

Golf games come and go, but Scheffler has proven time and that he has all the gifts. What comes and goes more fluidly for golfers is everything else: the emotions, the mental strength, the self-belief. We have seen this in recent years with players like Spieth, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa.

It’s not so much that Scheffler will never struggle in those areas. He surely will. Everyone does.

It’s more that such obstacles will not debilitate him when they cross his path.

In a sport that pushes the relentless pursuit — more wins, more money, more fame — his worldview of contentment as a Christian, as a husband and as a soon-to-be father is a gift to which he can return at any time.

“I feel like playing professional golf is an endlessly not-satisfying career,” Scheffler said. “For instance, in my head, all I can think about right now is getting home. I’m not thinking about the tournament. I’m not thinking about the green jacket. I’m trying to answer your questions, and I’m trying to get home.

“I wish I could soak this in a little bit more. Maybe I will tonight when I get home. But at the end of the day, I think that’s what the human heart does. You always want more, and I think you have to fight those things and focus on what’s good.

“Because, like I said, winning this golf tournament does not change my identity. My identity is secure, and I cannot emphasize that enough.”



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