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2024 PGA Tour: Scottie Scheffler Makes Historical past as The Gamers Championship’s First Again-To-Again Winner

2024 PGA Tour: Scottie Scheffler Makes Historical past as The Gamers Championship’s First Again-To-Again Winner

This was the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship, which meant the occasion demanded history and top-notch golf in equal measure — and Scottie Scheffler made sure to deliver. He was the chosen one on Sunday, March 17, as he showcased a performance that cemented his place as one of the PGA Tour’s legends.

Coming into the week at TPC Sawgrass, a lot was riding on the 27-year-old. Expectations are sky high every time the World No 1 tees off, but golf’s ‘fifth Major’ asked more of Scheffler.

Here was a man who was chasing a feat not achieved until March 17, 2024. As defending champion, Scheffler was up against the challenge of replicating his 2023 win back to back — something even Tiger Woods hadn’t achieved — and the manner in which he clawed back is proof why he is the world’s top professional golfer.

Breaking down Scottie Scheffler’s history-making victory at The Players Championship 2024

While on achievements, there are more, and prominent among them is Scheffler matching the lowest final round of 64 in tournament history, which gave him the second-lowest winning score of 20-under 268 (67, 69, 68, 64) for the one-shot win.
The man who came into the week of his latest triumph on the back of another landmark win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational has said that it was life outside the golf course that defined him, but truth be told, beneath the quiet demeanour lies a fighter who came into Sunday five shots off the lead, and stepped up in a way seldom seen in a field as deep as The Players.

Scheffler hurt his neck on Friday, and images of him receiving treatment by the 14th tee, and a few times later on, left the man in doubt. But this is where champions stand apart from the rest.

Nine-under after 52 holes, Scheffler shot 11-under over the next 21 holes to win after being unsure whether he could continue playing. He was in the mix, and that called for a special effort, and Scheffler was equal to the task in a week where the stakes were exceptionally high — 750 FedExCup points, USD 4.5 million prize purse out of the USD 25 million total purse.

Asked about the mental battle in the aftermath of the neck threatening to succumb to tournament pressure, Scheffler said, “I’m a pretty competitive guy, and I didn’t want to give up in the tournament. I did what I could to hang around until my neck got better.”

The belief that he could add to his seven PGA Tour titles in the space of just a week got triggered when Scheffler holed out for eagle on the 4th. The flame that burnt bright turned into an inferno of desire to get the job done. With six more birdies, Scheffler rested his case to become the first to win multiple times in three consecutive PGA Tour seasons in a while.

The champion’s mentality is behind this, one that had Scheffler visualising himself sitting in the interview room as the winner despite being wracked by pain and doubt on Friday. “That’s why I kept playing,” came the answer.

For the nth week, there was a mention of Scheffler and his so-called struggles on the greens. For the second consecutive week, Scheffler let his putter reply, so when a reporter tried to lead Scheffler to the path of invincibility, the World No 1’s reply was muted.

Though proud of his ability to close out tournaments, Scottie Scheffler attributed his victory to following the process, one that now has him as the first to win The Players Championship multiple times since Tiger Woods’ triumph in 2013.

“I try not to place too much emphasis on good or bad results. You can take some positives in the momentum, but I show up to try and perform my best and hopefully win tournaments, but when I stand on the tee on Thursday, I’m not thinking about the trophy ceremony at the end of the week. I’m just trying to be committed to the shot and just go from there,” he said.

scottie scheffler players championship 2024
Scottie Scheffler is the first golfer to achieve a back-to-back victory at The Players Championship 2024. (Image: The Players/ Instagram)

Golf can be cruel

Wyndham Clark had a chance to win The Players, going into the final day one shot off the 54-hole leader Xander Schauffele. Through the final 18 holes on Sunday, the reigning US Open champion kept stepping up in a way that a birdie on the 72nd hole would sent him into a playoff with Scheffler.

At 19-under 269, Schauffele and Brian Harman too found themselves in a do-or-die situation on the 18th, but they missed.
Clark thought he was going into the playoff when his putt for birdie from 17 feet rolled in, only to lip out. Gutted to finish second best to Scheffler for the second consecutive week, Clark could only seek out the positives while still figuring out “how that putt did not go in”.

“I played back-to-back weeks on two pretty challenging golf courses that I traditionally haven’t done very well on, I’ll take those positives. I’ll also take that I can play in the moment, in my moment against the best players in the world on the best golf courses. Maybe next week I’ll be able to look at those positives and feel good about it,” he said.

Till then, it will be living with the angst of not ticking that critical box which drives him. “I’ve always wanted and dreamt about making a putt that really mattered to either force a playoff or win a tournament, and I have yet to do it in my professional career, so I am pretty bummed I didn’t have one of those really awesome moments,” said Clark.

Ryan Fox had started the week with a bang with hole-in-one on the 16th and 17th. For the first time at The Players, had a player made back-to-back eagles on any hole, and the Kiwi would have been upbeat on what lay ahead.

From being “pretty chuffed to look up and see it going down the flag (on the iconic 17th), and a little bit of luck for it to come down the slope and go back in”, the day before, Friday was a different tale as Fox slipped from Thursday’s three-under to one-over par to miss cut by two shots.

Asian lions keep roaring

Si Woo Kim and Hideki Matsuyama were the best Asian names on view, the duo recording a strong Sunday to finish T6 at 15-under 273, five shots adrift of Scheffler.

Matsuyama’s run is an extension of the recent good run which saw the Japanese win the Genesis Invitational and record a T12 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the midst of his battle to set right a troublesome neck and back.

“There were some bad and some good (aspects). If I can keep progressing, I feel I should be able to keep myself in contention each week, so I’ll focus on that and keep moving forward,” said the World No 12.

For Kim, champion here in 2017, the career-best 8-under 64 at The Players came as a respite. Since The Memorial last June, the Korean hadn’t finished in the top 10 and it is hoped the finish has put a cap on some poor finishes on Sunday.

“I’ve not been putting well on Sundays and the last few holes have always been a struggle. I tried to not think about the next shot, and stayed in the moment (this time). I think it helped with my focus. This finish helps me a lot, it’ll give me confidence. I think everything has started to fall in place,” said the four-time winner on the PGA Tour, happy to post Sunday’s lowest round of 64 with Scheffler.

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Birdie blitz

Sam Ryder had a lot of bad shots that negated the good ones, but the American did enough to shoot 27 birdies and break the tournament record.

The T16 was also his best finish in the season so far, and for one who is yet to win on the PGA Tour, in a career that commenced in 2012, there was enough reason to be upbeat.

“27 for the week. That just goes to show it was an emotional roller coaster, but it’s cool. It’s always cool to have a record. A lot of penalty shots to offset that, so it’s hard to be too happy about it, but it’s cool,” said Ryder, whose best finish on Tour is T2 at the 2018 John Deere Classic and 2021 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

(Main image: Jared C. Tilton/ Getty Images; Featured image: The Players/ Instagram)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who won the 2024 Players Championship?

Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship by one shot to strengthen his position as World No 1.

What was special about Scottie Scheffler’s win?

Scottie Scheffler made the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship special by becoming the first player to defend his title in a tournament that is often termed the ‘fifth Major’. He also became only the second player to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players multiple times after Tiger Woods.

What did Scottie Scheffler gain with The Players win?

Scottie Scheffler’s eighth PGA Tour win gave him a prize cheque of US$ 4.5 million, 750 FedExCup points and the distinction as the first player to win The Players twice since Tiger Woods in 2013.

Source: Prestige Online

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