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NY Post
New York Post
1 Apr 2023


NextImg:Scottie Scheffler’s humble foundation for Masters defense rooted in dad’s love

Scottie Scheffler was ticked off.

The unaffected, unflappable guy with the aw-shucks, crooked smile — who’s ranked No. 1 in the world — is the defending Masters champion and a six-time winner in the past 14 months. And his mood was everything you never thought you’d see him be: angry.

As in steaming-mad, red-eyed angry.

Scheffler had become unglued on the golf course and wondered aloud what the hell was wrong and why this kept happening to him.

He was well inside the stroke-play cutline at the 2017 U.S. Amateur at Riviera Country Club, seemingly in a comfortable position to qualify for the match-play round, and he spit the bit. In his eyes, he choked, and it infuriated him.

Scheffler had followed his opening-round 69 with a second-round 75 and never made it to match play.

Scott Scheffler, the father of 26-year-old Scottie, recalled that seminal moment at Riviera six years ago like it was yesterday.

“He was trying to make the Walker Cup team at that U.S. Amateur, he was five shots inside the cut line and he wavered, goes to a playoff, he makes a [big] number and we’re walking down the fairway,’’ Scott Scheffler told The Post. “I’ll never forget it. He may, but I won’t forget it. What do you do as a dad? Here’s your kid who’s broken. We don’t know what to say.

“So, I walked up to him and put my arm around him and I said, ‘Scottie, I’m so proud of you.’ And he got so angry at me. He’s like, ‘What the bleep for? Did you see what I just did?’ ”

Scottie Scheffler is congratulated by his father, Scott Scheffler, on March 12, 2023, after winning The Players Championship.
AP

Scott Scheffler’s eyes were tearing up now as he recalled the moment.

“I said, ‘Scott, I am so proud of the way you handled that adversity,’ ” the elder Scheffler went on. “He said, ‘Dad, I ruined it.’ Then he says, ‘Dad, this keeps happening. Why does it keep happening?’ I said, ‘It’s just golf. I don’t know if you realize it, but I think you’re a lot closer to the solution now.’

PGA

Scottie Scheffler poses with the trophy and his family after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 6, 2022.
Getty Images

“I was a little scared to put my arm around him. He was angry, but he needed to know that it was just this blip in the road. Not that that was the moment, but I think the security that he knew we loved him and we cared no matter what happened on the golf course was important.

“You have to love them more when things are going bad. It’s easy to love someone right now when things are going well. Everyone loves him now.’’

Though the cool, collected and completely unaffected exterior you see when you watch Scottie Scheffler play golf today was not always that way for him, He has always had a gift to remain calm when it stormed, according to his dad.

“When something happens, he’s always been the one who says, ‘Everybody calm down,’ ” Scott Scheffler said. “He’s just kind of calm. Maybe because growing up with four kids [he has three sisters: Callie, Molly and Sara] there’s always chaos. Maybe it’s being raised in Dallas, which is a calmer place than New Jersey, I don’t know.’’

Scottie Scheffler spent his first six years in Montvale, N.J., before his mother Diana was transferred to Dallas for her job at a law firm.

Even in the wake of his son’s Masters win last April and the more recent Players Championship victory, Scott Scheffler finds himself marveling at what’s taken place.

“I used to wonder, ‘Can Scottie really be that good at his craft, at the game of golf?’ ” Scott Scheffler said. “And he is. He truly has been given a gift and he uses it. It does surprise me, but it’s starting to become like it’s real, like this isn’t an accident. He can play the game of golf.

“He’s my child. He’s my son. Sometimes you just say to yourself, ‘Wow.’ ”

Scheffler has been wowing the golf world for the past 14 months, and yet he carries himself in the same, unassuming manner he always has.

When Rory McIlroy is on top of his game and ranked No. 1, he has a distinct strut of confidence about him. When Jon Rahm is on top of the golf world, he carries a certain level of intimidation.

PGA

Scottie Scheffler enters the 2023 Masters as the betting favorite to become the first repeat winner since Tiger Woods in 2001-02.
Getty Images

Scheffler still looks like a guy a little bit dumbfounded to be in the elevated position he’s in — with all the trophies, money and status. He looks like the same guy who was searching for his first PGA Tour win 15 months ago.

To his dad, he looks like that same confused kid he consoled on that fairway at Riviera six years ago.

And yet this week at Augusta National, Scheffler will be the player everyone else in the field is chasing — the betting favorite to become the first repeat Masters winner since Tiger Woods in 2001-02.