Scheffler’s desire to compete takes him to the top | Sports

Scottie Scheffler solely ever sought after to play. That began with looking at.

Even then, there was once a objective.

“I would always try to watch somebody,” Scheffler stated. “I remember watching Rory (McIlroy) hit balls on the range, and I remember hearing the noise that his club head hitting the ball made and being taken aback. Like, ‘Wow, this was hit really solid.’

“I just remember watching and kind of studying those guys and just seeing what I could learn, because there’s so many talented guys out here and there’s so much I can learn from them that any tidbit I could pick up on was going to be beneficial.”

Randy Smith has seen all this before.

Smith, the PGA Hall of Fame pro at Royal Oaks in Dallas, has worked with 10 juniors who went on to play on the PGA Tour. Scheffler was 6 when his family moved from New Jersey and joined Royal Oaks, and Smith can still remember a boy small enough to hide in a trash can.

Mostly, he remembers how he wanted to hang around the pros.

“I’m not talking run-of-the-mill mini-tour pros,” Smith said Sunday evening. “He was once all the time up there across the excursion execs when he was once 8, 9, 10 years previous. And it was once hilarious. He would simply sit down there like a sponge. He’d sit down over with a shag bag, after which he’d move off and take a look at it himself. He was once jacking round with those guys, difficult them to chip and putt and compete.”

A winner at each degree, Scheffler skilled his low level throughout his sophomore 12 months at Texas when a expansion spurt in highschool — now at 6-foot-4, he would have hassle hiding in a dumpster — stuck up with him. His palms had been abruptly longer. There had been again accidents.

After being named NCAA freshman of the 12 months, his solely most sensible 10 was once completing 9th within the Big 12 Championship. He struggled to get the ball in play. Scheffler described it as an extended 12 months.

“That was hell,” Smith stated. “His body didn’t feel right. You see kids go through a growth spurt and there’s pain involved, there’s muscle growth, things that just don’t work right.”

Through all of it, Scheffler by no means misplaced the texture in his palms or the creativity between the ears — two of his biggest attributes — or the need to compete.

“Give him a left-handed set of clubs and he’ll figure out a way to beat you,” Smith stated.

It was once all the time about a possibility to compete, with out considering the place it would lead whilst he piled up trophies in junior golfing, school and now on the best degree. It’s now not that Scheffler did not assume he was once able to being No. 1 on this planet. He simply by no means appears past the following shot, the following spherical, the following event.

“It’s not something that I didn’t want to achieve or didn’t believe that I could do,” Scheffler stated. “I grew up at Royal Oaks. I grew up wearing long pants to go practice because I wanted to be a professional golfer. I dreamed of being out here.”

Not winning until his 60th start as a PGA Tour member didn’t bother him as much as one might think. He was competing, and there was great joy in that alone.

And then he won three times over the last six weeks, reached No. 1 in the world and his head was spinning trying to take it all in. Scheffler didn’t even realize the top ranking was at stake until Saturday.

That only added to a moment big enough to elicit rare emotion from Scheffler after he won. He was wiping away tears after so many hugs with wife Meredith, his parents, in-laws, sisters and friends. There was one particularly poignant moment with his father, Scott.

“You’re pretty good at golf, man,” he informed his 25-year-old son. “I’m more proud of who you are than your golf. You’re a wonderful young man.”

Making it even sweeter was winning in Austin, where Scheffler earned a degree from the McCombs School of Business in four years without summer school (he works hard in the library, too). He considered it a hometown win. And it was redemption from last year, when he was runner-up in the Match Play.

And oh yes, No. 1 in the world.

“I never really got that far in my dreams,” Scheffler said at the trophy presentation, choking up again. “I just love to play golf. I love competing. I’m happy to be out here, you know?”

Smith was with him in Austin at the start of the Match Play and then returned home. He is always working, usually with juniors no bigger than Scheffler once was. He still recalls the boy sitting on the Royal Oaks range, soaking up shots and picturing himself doing the same.

“It’s not watching the last six weeks, it’s the last 18 years,” Smith stated. “We can talk a lot about golf swings and all this and all that. But he’s got the brain to carry it. He could really be something special.”

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