At age 25, Scottie Scheffler becomes the latest golfer to win the honor of the Green Jacket at the Masters tournament held in Augusta, Ga. He is currently ranked first in the Official World Golf Ranking. Scheffler won by three strokes.
Eli Jamieson ’23, a member of Lewis & Clark’s Varsity Men’s golf team, provided his perspective on the win and professional golf in general.
“Scottie was dominant! In the past two months he has clearly been the best player in the world and it showed at this year’s Masters,” Jamieson said via email. “It is rare that not only the best player in the world is 25 years old but that he also backs it up at the biggest tournament of the year. He too clearly realized the gravity of the final round – he said he was crying to his wife the morning of the final round because he didn’t believe he could handle the pressure. It didn’t show!”
Scheffler led the leaderboard over the three day event, which took place from April 8 to 10. He maintained a steady lead over his main challenger, Australian golfer Cameron Smith. In the final round, Smith landed a shot into the water, which gave Scheffler a bit of breathing room. Rory McIlroy shot up the leaderboard on the final day of the tournament, shooting a 64. He was eight strokes under par.
“Part of me wishes Rory McIlroy had won this year. He is chasing the career grand slam (winning all four majors) and he has been incredibly candid about the pressure that has put on him – something that is rare in modern professional sports,” Jamieson said.
One of the most interesting aspects of this year’s Masters, according to Jamieson, was the return of Tiger “The Cat” Woods after a severe car accident on Feb. 23, 2021.
“It was shocking to see him limp down the fairway only a year and half after almost having his leg amputated. He somehow beat more than half the players in the field!” Jamieson said. “This year I found myself conflicted in rooting for Cat. On [the] one hand it is unbelievable to see him compete at age 46 while barely being able to walk. On the other hand, however, he did crash his car driving nearly 90 miles per hour on a residential road while endangering innocent people. Can you separate what he does on the course to who he is off (of) it?”
While the Masters win made history in and of itself, Scheffler was also the fifth player to win the Masters as the number one ranked golfer in the world. Additionally, he is the first golfer since Arnold Palmer in 1960 to attain four victories, including the Masters, in the span of a season.
Prior to his professional career, Scheffler lived in New Jersey and Texas. In 2013, he won the United States Junior Amateur tournament and was part of the U.S. team that won the 2017 Walker Cup. He went on to play at the University of Texas from 2014 to 2018, which he led to three Big 12 championships. He was also named “Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year” in 2015 by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).
In 2016, Scheffler qualified for his first U.S. Open. He opened with a strong first round, shooting a 69. However, he would miss the cut by one stroke in the second round, shooting a 78 overall. In 2017, the young golfer qualified again and was one of two amateurs to make the cut. He finished one stroke ahead of Cameron Champ, the second amateur participant.
Scheffler gained steam in 2019, winning a handful of tournaments and earning the title of Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year. In 2020, he finished fourth at the PGA Championship, winning $528,000. Later that month, he shot 12-under at The Northern Trust. This round made history as the joint second-lowest ever in PGA Tour history at 59 strokes.
Prior to the 2022 Masters, Scheffler won the WM Phoenix Open on Feb. 13 in a sudden-death playoff against Patrick Cantlay. At the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando three weeks later, Scheffler won his second career PGA Tour title. One final win at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas secured Scheffler the official number one rank in the world.
Despite having a deep passion for the sport, Jamieson himself admits that he does not watch a lot of professional golf.
“Other than the majors, I do not watch professional golf so I always try to watch as much of The Masters as I can,” Jamieson said. “That being said, I do love watching the majors. It’s great to watch people deal with an immense amount of pressure in such a vivid way.”
Jamieson believes that making the sport more accessible and popular is key to increasing the sport’s viewership.
“The more people who play golf, the more people will watch golf. Golf is so niche that it is hard to enjoy what you are watching unless you really understand what is going on and the skill it takes. Most of the time even I find it boring,” Jamieson said. “By trying to play golf, however, you can gain a little understanding of how hard it is. Hopefully (it) makes you appreciate the skill professional golfers have.”