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Don’t be surprised if Scottie Scheffler’s reign at No. 1 lasts for a while this time

Scottie Scheffler wins 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Everyone in golf knew Scottie Scheffler’s rise to world supremacy was probably coming long before he added The Players Championship to his trophy collection Sunday.

He’s no longer a Scottie-come-lately, but legitimately the game’s preeminent player.

Scheffler has been dropping hints about potential stardom for a decade, back when he won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur and then matched Jordan Spieth’s Texas high school record by capturing three individual state titles.

That same year, as a 17-year-old amateur, he finished tied for 22nd in his PGA Tour debut at the Byron Nelson Championship.

In 2017, he finished as the low amateur at the U.S. Open (1-under-par) before he could legally drink, then was part of the U.S. Walker Cup-winning team.

Two years later, he won two Korn Ferry Tour events and was named Player of the Year. A year later, he went 2-0-1 at the Ryder Cup and took out Jon Rahm in singles, then captured Player of the Year last season on the PGA Tour.

Notice a pattern here? Scheffler just kept checking box after box until he rose to No. 1 in the world last March, stayed there for seven months, and has now regained that perch after Rory McIlroy and Rahm briefly took him down a peg.

The Tiger-Jack connection

With Scheffler winning his sixth Tour event in 13 months — becoming the only player besides Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to reign simultaneously as champions of The Players and Masters — this 26-year-old American is officially a golf tornado.

And there’s nothing to indicate he won’t leave more of the planet’s best players helpless in his wake.

“Yeah, he’s very impressive. Incredibly consistent,” said Englishman and Players runner-up Tyrrell Hatton, who finished five shots back of Scheffler. “He’s had an amazing, what, 15-month stretch of golf. Played with him last Sunday [at the Arnold Palmer Invitational] and it was clear he didn’t have his best that day, but he still hung around and had a chance there right at the end.

“It’s a pretty tough thing to do to be up there when you don’t have your best golf and still give yourself a chance to win. It’s very impressive what he’s doing. Not much more that I can say.”

Hatton’s spot-on assessment of Scheffler is nothing flashy, which matches precisely the aw-shucks manner that The Players champion still views himself.

No matter how fast a dominant golf figure he’s become, Scheffler doesn’t get too caught up in his own…


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