Scottie Scheffler at the range

It’s rare when the man who is such an overwhelming favorite heading into a major championship hasn’t played golf in three weeks. But it’s not so rare when that man is Scottie Scheffler, the one who has dominated the PGA Tour this season and won four times, including the two biggest events on the schedule to date.

Up next, however, is the PGA Championship, where Scheffler already has recorded three top-eight finishes in his four appearances. Scheffler tied for second place last year at Oak Hill behind Brooks Koepka.

But so much has happened since. Scheffler left Rochester the top-ranked golfer in the world and has extended that lead over the likes of Rory McIlroy, Wyndham Clark, Xander Schauffele and Jon Rahm.

Scottie Scheffler leaves Oak Hill as World No. 1

2023 PGA Championship - Round Two
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK - MAY 19: Scottie Scheffler of The United States plays his tee shot on the third hole watched by his playing partner Brooks Koepka during the second round of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 19, 2023 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

The 27-year-old had several close calls the remainder of the year, before winning the unofficial Hero World Challenge in December. This year Scheffler has been a wrecking ball from the jump, playing in 10 events. Only The American Express, his second event in 2024, has produced a result outside the top 10 — and that was a 17th-place tie.

His last four starts: win, win, T-2, win, win. Precisely one person has topped him since early March and that came via a missed birdie putt from 7 feet on the 72nd hole in Texas to force a playoff against Stephan Jaeger. The four wins were against top players at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship, the Masters and the RBC Heritage.

We haven’t seen Scheffler since. That was three weeks ago.

For good reason. The Texan and his wife, Meredith, were welcoming their first child, a son named Bennett. There was talk at both the Masters and RBC Heritage that he’d leave if he got wind that Meredith went into labor. Thankfully, that never happened.

At the Masters, where he collected his second green jacket and won easily by four shots, Scheffler was asked how much of a priority golf would be once his child was born. The man who always appears calm on the outside has a competitive fire burning on the inside and was quick to point out he doesn’t anticipate that changing.

“I will go home, soak in this victory tonight,” Scheffler said while wearing the green jacket. “I will definitely enjoy the birth of my first child. But, with that being said, I still love competing. My priorities will change here very soon. My son or daughter will now be the main priority, along with my wife, so golf will now be probably fourth in line. But I still love competing. I don’t plan on taking my eye off the ball anytime soon, that’s for sure.”

There may be a smidge of competitive rust when Scheffler returns at Valhalla Golf Club, but he’s been hitting plenty of balls back in Texas to get ready for the second major championship of the year. If he’s not worried about being prepared, then no one should be worried for him.

Tiger Woods, of all people, certainly isn’t worried about Scheffler, the only man whose ball-striking performances have been compared to Woods since he was in his competitive prime.

“If he putts decent, he’s going to win,” Woods said two weeks ago on NBC’s Today. “If he putts great, he blows away fields. If he has a bad putting week, he contends. He’s just that good of a ball-striker.”

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