Scheffler’s superpower ability to let things go was key to Masters romp | The Masters


Whatever you may have thought watching it on TV, Scottie Scheffler didn’t win the Masters when he made that tricky birdie putt from 10ft on the eighth green, when he hit that lob-wedge to six inches on the ninth, or when he clattered that drive 340 yards down the middle of the 10th for his third successive birdie. No, he explained later, he won it about 2024 years before the tournament even started. “I believe that today’s plans were already laid out many years ago, and I could do nothing to mess them up,” Scheffler explained. And there you were thinking that God had bigger things to worry about right now than who won that green jacket.

Well, you scoff if you want to. But there’s no doubt that it gives a man a certain edge around the fairways to know he’s got the almighty at his back, even if he’s not actually carrying his bag. Scheffler has another passionate Christian, Ted Scott, to do that for him. Like Scott said, “having the God of the universe, the Creator, on your side just makes things a lot easier to deal with”. This was Scott’s fourth Masters victory, he had already won one with Scheffler and a couple of others with Bubba Watson, and he celebrated it by striding across the clubhouse lawn brandishing the flag stick from the 18th green like he was leading the crusaders into Jerusalem.

Prayer isn’t any more ridiculous than any number of other things golfers try to improve their game, God’s certainly a lot cheaper than the sports psychologists and swing doctors and snake oil salesmen some of the other pros on tour are working with. Whisper it but he works better for Scheffler, too. He said had been feeling overwhelmed on Sunday morning, till “my buddies told me that my victory was secure on the cross”. Meaning, you guess, that Jesus died to win it for him. “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.”

Scheffler’s faith seems to mean that he believes as long as he does his bit in practice he doesn’t have to waste his time worrying about the bad breaks and wrong shots because they’re all beyond his control anyway. So in between swinging his club he just let his mind wander where it likes. “I tried to soak in stuff around me, I looked up at the trees at times, I looked up at the fans occasionally.” Imagine that. The man’s sitting on a two-shot lead over the field into Amen Corner, one of the hardest little stretches of holes in championship golf, and he’s standing there admiring the dogwoods.

‘I love winning’: Scottie Scheffler storms to 2024 Masters victory – video

It’s what makes him so good. Scheffler’s superpower isn’t his skill off the tee, or his short game. It’s his ability to forget about his last shot and get on with doing the best job of hitting his next one. Which is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when the heavy pressure comes down. He plotted his way around his final round. Go watch the other leaders play the 11th again, Ludvig Åberg got sucked into trying to hit a draw around the corner, and ended up in the water. Collin Morikawa made exactly the same mistake. Only Scheffler hit a fade that meant he missed on the right-hand side, safely on the fairway.

Scottie Scheffler’s caddy Tedd Scott joins in the celebrations after the golfer’s Masters success. Photograph: Xinhua/Shutterstock

The man’s been carrying on like this all year. He hasn’t had a single round over par this side of Christmas. Every bogey’s followed by a birdie. He kept it going through all four days of the Masters, including two of the toughest anyone can remember. “Brutal,” said Phil Mickelson on Friday afternoon, “about as hard a golf course as I’ve seen in a very long time,” added Jon Rahm, “as difficult as I’ve ever played it,” said Charl Schwartzel. Scheffler didn’t disagree with them, “I can’t even describe to you how difficult the conditions were”, it was just that he still got around in 72, and did it from the wrong side of the draw, too.

“I have been given a gift of this talent,” he said, “and I use it for God’s glory.”

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If there’s a catch, it’s that it all means he sometimes seems a little conflicted about whether he’s even allowed to enjoy the game he plays. “Playing professional golf is an endlessly not satisfying career,” he said, “For instance, in my head, all I can think about right now is getting home.” It is, he says, his third priority in life, after God, and his wife, Meredith. No one asked him which one of them gets the No 1 spot, but either way, golf’s about to be bumped down again, because the Schefflers are expecting. “My son or daughter will now be the main priority, along with my wife, so golf will now be probably fourth in line.”

Even so, given the way it’s working for him, Scheffler must be doing more for the cause on tour than the Gideons have managed in the last hundred years. Expect the must-have accessories on the practice range here next year to be a crucifix and rosemary.

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