Golf is an emotional game. Aside from a Ryder Cup, the Masters has to be one of the most pressure packed events we see all year. It’s the only major championship they annually play at the same venue. The player familiarity with the golf course really heightens the expectations. As a kid, Scottie Scheffler may have dreamed of winning the PGA Championship, but he didn’t know where? Dream of winning a green jacket and there’s only one course to think about.
Scottie Scheffler slept on the lead of the 86th Masters for two straight nights. Although he didn’t share much emotion on the course, we all know he was feeling some pressure. After all, this was going to be his first major victory. In listening to Scheffler after each round in the press room, a seasoned PGA Coach could really hear why Scheffler’s recent run shows no signs of stopping.
Scottie kept repeating the same sentiment: “I can prepare before the shot, perform to the best of my ability and then that’s it. From there whatever happens, happens.” Golf is game where we continually convince ourselves we can control things that are outside of our influence. Take for example the start to the final round yesterday. Scheffler’s closest competitor, Cam Smith, started birdie-birdie. Rather than panic, Scheffler remained calm and continued to compete according to the plan he and his PGA Coach, Randy Smith, laid out.
Scottie Scheffler was a prolific winner as a junior golfer. He could close a tournament with the best of them. Everyone always imagined he would play on the PGA Tour. When he finally made it there, he didn’t win right away. It took over 70 tournaments before he got that first elusive title. Since that time, he’s won 4 times including this Masters, a WGC event, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The difference in his mind is a very powerful PGA Coaching point. Scheffler wasn’t treating his early tournament rounds as important as the weekend. He was thinking about the end and not the beginning. In doing so, he couldn’t get close enough to the leaders for the final round. The lack of focus and distractions on Thursday and Friday were holding him back. Fast forward to 2022 and his new approach has taught him to be more attentive from the start of the tournament. To prepare and perform each shot from the first round and then see what happens.
Nobody can argue with the results. Since that first win in February, it took 42 days for Scottie to reach the #1 ranking in the world. For reference, it took Tiger Woods 253 days from his first win to become the world’s #1. When you look back at the 86th Masters, I want you to remember Scottie’s quote. Take that advice into your next round.
Start each shot as Scheffler would. Get going on hole #1 with a determined attitude to play well for all 18-holes. Be thoughtful in your plan, prepare by selecting the best club and then focus on your performance. Let the result go. Just as Scheffler figured out, get engaged in the beginning and the end will take care of itself.