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Masters 2024: Scottie Scheffler Takes Dwelling the Inexperienced Jacket For the Second Time

Masters 2024: Scottie Scheffler Takes Dwelling the Inexperienced Jacket For the Second Time

It isn’t top golfer Scottie Scheffler’s quality of play that sets him apart from the field — the 2024 Masters champion also comes with a mindset that is so very different in a time when breathing golf 24/7 is considered a must in the elite ranks.

For Scheffler, it is prioritising what defines him — and golf isn’t up there. It has always been about family and life outside the golf course. Even after becoming the second player (after Tiger Woods) to win the Players Championship and Masters in a single season, the star golfer refused to be swayed.

Revisiting Scottie Scheffler’s decisive victory at The Masters 2024

Sunday, March 14, was his, galloping away to a four-shot win after that momentum-shifting birdie on Hole 8 for a second career Green Jacket after 2022.

Scheffler stood by what he had said after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the first of his three wins this season: “I try not to place too much of my identity in what I do out on the golf course. There’s a whole other part of my life that is not in front of you guys that I think is what’s most important to me. My life’s not a golf score, it’s not how many trophies I’m going to win, it’s not anything like that. I’m proud to have a great wife and a great family, and we have great friends at home and I’m very grateful for the other part of my life that’s away from the golf course.”

Throughout the week at the Augusta National Golf Club, the World No. 1 put himself on standby. Had his wife Meredith gone into labour, Scottie Scheffler would have left the Masters 2024 and rushed home to be by her side to welcome their first child.

That should happen any time within the coming weeks, and Scheffler had announced his plans in the interview room. His son or daughter will join Meredith atop his list of priorities, and “golf will probably be fourth in line” for the champion.

Having said so, the final round’s 4-under 68 on Sunday is proof of a man who loves to compete, and Scheffler affirmed that the new addition to his family will in no way affect his clinical approach on the golf course. “I love to compete; I will not be taking my eyes off that ball anytime soon.”

Scheffler’s words find reflection in the way he went about constructing the final round. Going into Sunday, a shot separated him and Collin Morikawa, who as a two-time Major winner knows what a Sunday charge can hold.

The thrust never came for Morikawa, the 2-over 74 saw him slip a rung to T3, but oblivious of the meltdowns and ascents on the leaderboard like rookie Ludvig Aberg’s, Scheffler did what was expected of him.

It wasn’t easy with the burden of expectations as World No 1, and striving for a repeat at Augusta as among the youngest to do so. Aged 27, Scheffler had Woods and Jack Nicklaus, both of whom attained greatness at 25, and Seve Ballesteros (26) to look up to, and when it was accomplished, one more name was added to the pantheon of greats.

Two Green Jackets in the space of three years was about a lot of factors, and critical among them was having the ear firmly on the ground. Scheffler understood the demands of the Augusta National Golf Club and he merged them with his skill set for a ninth PGA Tour win.

“The golf course was so challenging,” he said, and by being able to swing it well, Scheffler allowed himself the distance that’s so important here. “I swung it harder than a regular PGA Tour event as there’s a little more room off the tee, and a lot of the drives I hit this week was high and hard (compared to a Tour event),” he explained.

From tee to green, it was a skilful mix. “The fairways are wide and with greens so firm you have to have short clubs going into them (greens).”

But even in the midst of it, Scheffler did not let the heat of the moment get to him. With his mindset, it wasn’t too tough though. The occasional glance at the trees and teeming fans and feeding off their energy, Scheffler never let himself “get attached to the lead”. “I just kept pressing.” By that he meant the prolific back-nine, which was dotted with four birdies to that lone blemish on Hole 11, and effectively shut out Aberg’s challenge.

With a final score of 11-under 277 (66, 72, 71, 68), four shots better than Aberg, Scheffler buttressed what’s been the talk this season — here is a man who is just getting started, and the parallels with Woods seem perfectly in place.

The other name of grit

In recent times, news of Tiger Woods have been about his pitched battles with injuries. But the former World No. 1’s undying desire to get back to golf with the belief that he can contend again has to be mentioned in the same breath.

The Masters has always enamoured Woods, not just for the five Green Jackets in his possession, but the setting and history that’s associated with the season’s first Major championship.

tiger woods at the masters 2024 which scottie scheffler won
Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Image: Warren Little/ Getty Images)

After withdrawing from the Genesis Invitational in February, it was expected Woods’ next attempt at a comeback would be the 88th Masters, and so it turned out to be.

With the announcement that he was not here to make the numbers, Woods teed off, armed with an intrinsic knowhow of Augusta.

“All the clichés you hear about him and all the stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person,” said Max Homa, who notched a career high with a T3 finish, and was Woods’ playing partner earlier in the week.

With flashes of brilliance and swinging between days when he felt great and not-so good, Woods made his 24th straight cut at the Masters (he did not play in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2021) to get past the record of Fred Couples and Gary Player for the longest streak in the tournament’s history.

After opening with rounds of 73, 72, Woods stumbled to 82 and 77 to finish last at 60th, but there was more to the week than these numbers. The optimism of what the future holds after completing his 100th competitive round at the Masters.

Lasting four days at one of the hilliest courses the PGA Tour visits, Woods will be back at the drawing board exploring the possibility of playing the 2024 season’s remaining three Majors.

A hard call, considering he said not long back that he was looking to compete once a month on Tour.

Outlasting the odds has Woods looking deep into the horizon. “I’m going to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst (US Open), Valhalla (PGA Championship) and Troon (The Open Championship), but that’s kind of the game plan,” he said.

“I heard there are some changes at the next couple sites. So got to get up there early and check them out. Just keep lifting, keep the motor going, keep the body moving, keep getting stronger, keep progressing. Hopefully the practice sessions will keep getting longer,” said Woods.

The tone was upbeat, and when it is an 82-time PGA Tour winner with 15 Major titles talking of belief, the golfing world is waiting in anticipation.

What a Major debut!

Winning on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour soon after joining the pro ranks last season, Ludvig Aberg gave a glimpse of the distinctive talent he had sharpened in the university ranks in the US.

By topping the PGA Tour U chart, the 24-year-old Swede became the first to earn a PGA Tour card through this route. Playing a Major, Aberg was making his debut, is a completely different challenge, which isn’t just about skill. By challenging the world’s best player in a pressure cooker like situation on Sunday, Aberg proved he has it in him to go the distance.

Going bogey-free on Sunday when many seasoned names on the leaderboard were in a free fall, Aberg enjoyed the tug at the nerves. “To be in this situation and feel the pressure walking down the last couple of holes is what you dream of,” he said on the week that culminated with a score of 7-under 281 (73, 69, 70, 69) and T2 finish.

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Playing through injury

For Min Woo Lee, a mid-table finish at Augusta ranked nothing short of a win. The Aussie broke his right ring finger while throwing down a 20-pound dumb bell at the end of a gym session, and the swollen digit going into the Masters threatened to derail his third consecutive appearance here.

“It’s my favourite place in the world…It is a very special place,” he said, and the eagerness to feature again brought about frenetic efforts to get his finger back in shape.

Icing and elevation brought the pain down, and Lee teed off with the affected area in bandage. Surprised by the quick recovery, Lee worked up some magic of his own to finish T22, eight rungs lower than his maiden appearance in 2022.

Another name to step up was Will Zalatoris. It all started at the Masters last year when Zalatoris withdrew shortly before his tee-off on Thursday. The back injury forced a chain of events that threatened to severely curb his promising career.

Surgery followed, and his career was put on hold till the end of last season. Four months into his comeback since December, Zalatoris has come close to winning at the Genesis Invitational (T2) and Arnold Palmer Invitational (T4). With the T9 at the Masters, Zalatoris has never been more grateful to be doing what he loves.

(Main and featured images: Warren Little/ Getty Images)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Who won the 2024 Masters Tournament?

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler won the 2024 Masters Tournament, the season’s first Major championship, with a four-shot win over rookie Ludvig Aberg of Sweden.

– How much did Scottie Scheffler earn by winning the Masters 2024?

Out of a total prize fund of USD 20 million, Scottie Scheffler collected USD 3.6 million when he won the Masters 2024. Along with it, came 750 FedExCup points and a cementing of the top spot on the FedExCup rankings.

– How did Tiger Woods fare at the 2024 Masters?

Former World No. 1 Tiger Woods created the record of making 24 consecutive cuts to go past Fred Couples and Gary Player for the longest streak in tournament history.

– Where did Tiger Woods finish at the 2024 Masters?

With rounds of 73, 72, 82, 77 (16-over 304), Tiger Woods finished last with a 60th finish.

Source: Prestige Online

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