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Island green mems inspire Scottie Scheffler

Island green mems inspire Scottie Scheffler

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Scottie Scheffler wasn’t old enough to steer a golf cart when he got his first taste of the island green.

As he recalls, he was young — 10, 12 years old — when he played the hole with his father: “Just us two, and just going out there and having fun.”

“I think anytime when you see stuff on TV it always looks so much larger than life, whether it’s a person or a hole or a golf course,” Scheffler said, “and then you get out there and you’re like, OK, wait, like it’s a normal-sized green and I can do this.

He’s ranked second in the world. He’s finished in the top 12 in each of his last eight PGA Tour events. He could leap to No. 1 with victory at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass this weekend.

But as the 26-year-old reigning Masters champion begins this week’s Players Championship, the earliest memories are often the best, like that unofficial challenge at 17 with his father, Scott.

“He’s always done a good job of helping me enjoy things because I feel like I’m pretty serious when it comes to golf, and he does a good job of keeping things light, and we went out and had some fun, and it was definitely a special memory,” Scheffler said.

Players Championship: Photos

Rapid rise from Texas

A three-time Big 12 champion at the University of Texas, where his teammates included Ponte Vedra’s Taylor Funk, he made a speedy start in the professional ranks during a Player of the Year campaign on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019.

In the past year-plus, he’s really taken off.

A first PGA Tour win, the WM Phoenix Open in February 2022. His first major title at Augusta National two months later. A meteoric rise to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking in two separate stints beginning last spring, including 31 weeks at No. 1.

He isn’t fading, either, even though Spain’s Jon Rahm has displaced him for the moment atop the ranking.

Scheffler’s last eight events on the Tour: tie for third, tie for ninth, second, tie for seventh, tie for 11th, first (a second WM Phoenix Open title in February), tie for 12th and a tie for fourth during last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

“Looking back towards this year, definitely feel like I’m playing solid and trending in the right direction,” he said.

Rocky ride at Stadium Course

The Stadium Course is an exception. Since that early visit, Scheffler’s stops here haven’t been so smooth.

“I was talking to a few guys earlier, and…


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