ORLANDO, Fla. — One by one, the players left the 18th green at Bay Hill as they completed Sunday’s final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational looking dazed and confused.
They looked and sounded defeated.
It was a wild day at Bay Hill, which paired perfectly with the endless thrill rides at all the amusement parks in the area.
US Open conditions erupted with thick, rough and hard greens, relentlessly slippery, coupled with a strong breeze, and the players weren’t handling it well. Everyone except Scottie Scheffler.
Before the 25-year-old Scheffler became the tournament winner, just weeks after winning his first career PGA Tour event, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, his closest competitors got tangled up in trouble that would sabotage their chances. to win and visibly leave them. frustrated afterwards.
Throughout, Scheffler’s facial expression never changed.
That’s why Sunday, with conditions mirroring those of a US Open, suited Scheffler perfectly, who is not only built for tough course conditions, he thrives on them.
That’s why it will be a slight upset if he doesn’t win the US Open for a day or two. His balanced attitude is the perfect antidote to the current problems at the US Open.
When it was over and Scheffler had two 69-foot putts on the 18th green to finish on a par 5-under, clear of the field, Scheffler’s dad Scott stood outside the scoring trailer. beaming when Billy Horschel’s 29-foot birdie putt missed on 18 and his son’s win was confirmed.
Scott Scheffler, who moved from New Jersey with his wife, Scottie and three daughters to Texas when the kids were young, still has a lot of Jersey in him.
“I hate to say it, but he’s really good,” said Scott Scheffler. “I don’t know anything else to say. The child just knows how to play. He’s just good at golf. He is really very good at his job. We just stayed away.
It’s been quite a ride for his son, who played in his first Ryder Cup in the fall (and successfully), won his first PGA Tour event last month and now this one.
A year ago, Scottie Scheffler was a very good golfer who was climbing the world rankings with high finishes, but still looking for his first victory.
“He was always like that, taking time to settle down,” his father said. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh, he can’t win, oh, he can’t do this. He’s always been pretty good. Leave him alone. He obviously has the head for the challenge.
The head and the heart.
That’s why, while his competitors blinked on Sunday, he never flinched – even hitting a bad drive on No. 15 under a tree and then snipping a branch with his second shot that didn’t traveled only 30 meters. All Scheffler did was bury a normal 22-foot putt to stay in the chase.
That’s why, after another bad drive on the par-5 16th to a lie and squirrel position that caused a bad second shot and forced him to hit a corner on the green for a long par-putt save, he made that one too.
“It was the US Open conditions,” said Scott Scheffler. “He told me on Thursday. I asked, ‘What is the course defense?’ He said, ‘Greens. Sunday will be a US Open. ”
And it played perfectly into the hands of Scottie Scheffler.
“Scottie always told me he was taking on a very, very tough challenge,” Scott Scheffler said.
“Basically, whatever I do, I’m really competitive,” Scottie Scheffler said. “My wife will tell me I’m more competitive playing board games or whatever we’re doing. So when the conditions get really tough and the pitches get really good, I get excited. I work hard, and being in those moments is really fun. I kinda like the challenge of tougher golf courses and tougher conditions.”
Next up for Scheffler is this week’s Players Championship. Then the WGC Match Play. Shortly after, Augusta National, where Scheffler must be considered a favorite after that golf run he practiced.
“We’re all going to take our family trip to Augusta,” Scott Scheffler said. “People go to Hawaii, we go to Augusta. And we’ll be back on the road. We’ll be riding in the 2012 Scottie Yukon with 170,000 miles on the clock.
Scott Scheffler then caught his breath as he prepared to accompany the family to the 18th green for the winners’ ceremony.
“Believe me, I’m beyond thrilled,” he said, taking into account his son’s magical run. “How do you know?”
Not until the proof is served as Scottie Scheffler delivered on Sunday at Bay Hill.
New York Post