Scheffler a Masters champion and by no means noticed it coming | Sports activities

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Scottie Scheffler needed to be an expert golfer for therefore lengthy he wore trousers to classes at Royal Oaks in Dallas and even at junior tournaments, irrespective of how stifling the Texas warmth.

He simply by no means imagined how he would look in a inexperienced jacket.

Winning the Masters is the dream of any junior golfer, significantly in Texas with its heritage of champions from Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan to Ben Crenshaw and Charles Coody to most just lately Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

Scheffler was no unusual child, and that a lot hasn’t modified.

“I’ve never been a guy that likes to look too far into the future,” Scheffler mentioned Sunday night, nonetheless attempting to understand the magnitude of his three-shot victory at Augusta National.

Tiger Woods spoke over the weekend of that window of time when a participant will get sizzling, whether or not it was Fred Couples in 1992 or Woods on extra events than he can keep in mind. The hope is that window features a main on the calendar, and Scheffler’s run got here at a super time.

He gained the Phoenix Open, at Bay Hill and on the Match Play in a span of seven weeks. The final one despatched him to No. 1 on the planet, and the subsequent cease was Augusta.

But as he sat in Butler Cabin, ready to slide into the inexperienced jacket for the primary time, he was requested when he first dreamed about akin to event.

“Probably the first time it popped into my mind was Friday in the afternoon, after we got done,” Scheffler replied.

“Really?” got here the response.

Yes, actually. Scheffler has talked for the previous two months about solely wanting an opportunity to compete. That was the dream. What introduced him to tears was getting his first invitation within the mail when he certified for his first Masters that was moved to November in 2020.

Winning the Masters? Only after he constructed a five-shot lead after the second spherical, and held on for a three-shot lead going into the ultimate day.

Scheffler is all about competing. That hasn’t modified.

Randy Smith can spin yarns about seeing Scheffler at age 10 sitting on the vary at Royal Oaks as he watched and listened to tour professionals form pictures and discuss. And then he would problem them to short-game contests or on the placing greens, and if he wasn’t taking cash off them, he was placing a dent of their egos.

“He was a gamer,” mentioned Will Zalatoris, who grew up within the Dallas space with Scheffler. “He wore pants to every tournament even if it was 110 degrees. He tried to be a professional at a young age, and obviously seeing what he is doing now, it’s pretty cool on my part to see it.”

That quick recreation was a giant a part of his Masters victory. The remaining margin was nearer than it actually was. Scheffler had a five-shot lead and at last took off his blinders to absorb the environment, after which absent-mindedly four-putted for a double bogey. He shot 71 as a substitute of 69. He gained by three as a substitute of 5. Those are simply numbers in a document ebook.

Cameron Smith made a fast run with birdies on the opening two holes that lower the result in one shot, and Scheffler responded with maybe essentially the most vital shot of the ultimate spherical. His chip up the steep slope on No. 3 rattled in opposition to the pin and dropped for birdie, and Smith’s bogey made it a two-shot swing.

Overlooked was the up-and-down from behind the primary inexperienced — one of many worst spots to be at Augusta, particularly for somebody attempting to win their first main — and the pitch from lengthy and left on the par-3 fourth.

“If I was to pick one part of my game that excelled the most, I would say it was probably my lob wedge,” Scheffler mentioned. “Even today, I had some really good up-and-downs in the beginning of the round and then just kept myself in position.”

He didn’t get quarters for a few of his huge putts, solely pars, and people had been value lots.

After beginning the again 9 with a careless bogey from the golf green, Scheffler missed the eleventh inexperienced to the appropriate and pitched to 7 toes. Smith made birdie, and Scheffler rolled in his par putt to maintain the lead at three pictures.

It was like that each one day — all week, actually.

Before lengthy, all that was left was a stroll up the 18th fairway, a visit to Butler Cabin, the inexperienced jacket. It’s the stuff of desires, even when they had been by no means his.

Scheffler is No. 1 by some margin, and nobody can doubt he earned the rating with the standard of his wins — a World Golf Championship, a serious, a wide range of programs and checks.

“You get on those hot streaks, and you just got to ride them out because they, unfortunately, don’t last forever,” Justin Thomas mentioned. “But he is doing it in the biggest tournaments. It’s not like he is going and winning small events or Bahamas where it’s 20 people. He is winning WGCs. He is winning a major now.

“It’s really, really impressive to see someone that young handle a moment this big so easily.”

What subsequent?

“I want to go home,” Scheffler mentioned along with his distinctive snicker. “I’m pretty tired right now.”

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