What Makes Scottie Scheffler’s Game So Ridiculous? Ask Rory McIlroy

Scottie Scheffler has an admirer in Rory McIlroy.

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The most ridiculous thing professional golf fans take for granted right now is world number one Scottie Scheffler’s ability to hit the ball.

It is perhaps a testament to human adaptability that we wonder every week, not all week, at how he can take the driver so far with such control. It is perhaps an unfortunate referendum on the human condition that we are much more fixated on his putting – the clearly weak link in his game – than anything else. Because everything else is otherworldly.

Scheffler goes into the Tour Championship season finale this week as the top-ranked golf ball driver on the Tour. Per strokes won, no one was better off the tee; not even Rory McIlroy, who is arguably the greatest driver of this generation.

Scheffler is also starting this week as the best-placed iron player on the tour. No one was better per strokes won; not even Collin Morikawa, who is well on his way to becoming an iron player of the generation. This year, Scheffler gained 1.3 hits on the field per lap on the approach; Nobody else has cracked 1.0.

How on earth does he do that? Scheffler’s aw-shucks approach doesn’t lend itself to grandiose self-description; He’s proud of how hard he works and how hard he tries, and he leaves the contextualization to everyone else, thanks.

I had lunch with Scheffler for a magazine story earlier this year and asked him what he thought his public perception was.

I have no idea,” he said.

What would he like?

“Oh man, I don’t know either. I mean, it’s like, what’s the point?”

We’re reaching out to our Deputy Scottie Scheffler Correspondent, Rory McIlroy, instead. He is one place behind Scheffler in the world rankings. Also in another category, Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, which combines driving and approaching with a third category, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, he is one spot behind Scheffler, and I haven’t even mentioned that one, but Scheffler’s sixth category Tour there too. McIlroy was great in all three areas; He is second driving, third approaching and eighth on the greens. Scheffler was better in all three cases.

“Scottie could have the best ball-throwing season ever,” McIlroy said in awe. “He hit the ball just as well, if not better, than Tiger did in 2000, which is the benchmark for all of us.”

How does he do that? When confronted with this question, McIlroy smiled. If you imagine a ball racket of a generation, you might imagine a metronomic, stable, simple, aesthetic and repeatable play; essentially a slightly sentient version of our rocking robot. But if you’ve seen him hit even one golf ball, you’ll realize that Scheffler isn’t.

“I don’t know,” McIlroy said. “Because you watch Scottie hit a ball and your feet go everywhere and that’s just the way it is [gestures] but he’s just not scared of gunshots. For example, he will make small, sharp cuts with the driver. He will hit big high draws. He plays a lot with the golf ball. He has incredible hands.”

This is where McIlroy started calling Scheffler a “player with pure feeling,” but then caught himself because Scheffler works hard every day to get closer to that swing robot, programming those banging cuts and high draws, and turning art into science .

“I see him working really hard on the range and doing his drills and doing all those things,” McIlroy continued. “But then I feel like once he’s on the golf course he’s able to just let all of that go and get so reactive and instinctive on the golf course and just become a real athlete. So it’s really, really cool to watch. Yes, as I said, the numbers he presented this year are phenomenal. How, incredible. I can’t imagine how you can win a shot with your driver and your approach if you can’t be the best player in the world.”

In his own pre-tournament press conference, Scheffler got his best glimpse of his superhuman flair for operating golf clubs unintentionally when asked about changing gear. he hates it Does not like to change irons because he has to make small adjustments. It takes time to get to know new people.

“There are just little things that are different at every club,” he explained. “They could make me like five backup drivers in the TaylorMade truck and tell me they’re all the same, and I’d hit them and say, ‘Guys, I really don’t think they are.’ Same.”

With that awareness, he put together such a historic season, a season that evokes comparisons to Tiger Woods in 2000. But there’s no escaping the fact that back in 2000, Woods won the last three majors of the year. He won nine times in 20 starts. He won the US Open by a margin of 15. Scheffler is unlikely to leave the year empty-handed; He beat a star-studded field at the WM Phoenix Open to take the roster by five. But for someone who has had 18 consecutive top 12 finishes and seven consecutive top 5 finishes, two wins seems surprisingly low.

Which brings us inevitably to Scheffler’s putting, which sticks out of his stats page like an anchovy on a birthday cake; Scheffler loses an average of a quarter of a shot on the green, ranking 145th out of 185 eligible players. In fact, the ball hit stats are so ridiculous that statisticians are scrambling to double-check their work. Is it possible that Scheffler hits it so well that he actually broke the punches won model? But the reality is that Scheffler was a good lag putter and rarely made three putts, but just doesn’t make as many putts from 15 feet and under as his competitors; He is 170th at 10-15 feet and 172nd at 4-8 feet. As good as his season has been, he’s still a work in progress on the greens; Scheffler left the property Wednesday night with only a putter in hand, presumably to practice at his rented home or just to get the team together.

The way the results have turned out, Scheffler’s historic year may not even be enough to earn him the tour’s top honors.

“It depends on what you value,” McIlroy said when asked who should be named Player of the Year. “I think Scottie won twice this year Jon [Rahm]’s has won four times, Jon’s has won the Masters, Scottie’s has won the Players.

“I think Jon probably has a little more to offer for his year. But I think it could depend on that week and who’s performing. But it’s a duel between Jon and Scottie.”

Scheffler is proud of his season; He cited his approach to each week and his consistency as a catalyst for this year.

“I would say those are the two things I’m most proud of. Definitely my most consistent year as a pro.”

But he also admitted his disappointment.

“Of course I’m disappointed every time I don’t win a tournament,” he said. “But I think as a professional golfer you try to live with that disappointment because you just can’t win The often. But I try my best to make it every week.”

Now Scheffler still has a chance of winning; His eyes are on the biggest prize of the tour, a check for $18 million, the same prize McIlroy took from him at the event last season. Like last year, Scheffler starts the field with a two-stroke lead – a daunting prospect for any player below him on the leaderboard. Even McIlroy.

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. A Williamstown native from Massachusetts, he joined GOLF in 2017 after struggling with the mini tours for two years. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and is the author of 18 in Americadescribing the year he spent as an 18-year-old living off his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

https://golf.com/news/scottie-scheffler-golf-swing-rory-mcilroy/ What Makes Scottie Scheffler’s Game So Ridiculous? Ask Rory McIlroy

Ian Walker

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