The world No. 1 disclosed what he learned from arguably the greatest to ever do it


Entering the 2024 Players Championship, defending champion Scottie Scheffler is in a class of his own. It is just not a fair fight when he takes the course, to the point that there’s no reason to ask who is playing the best golf these days because — even when he’s not winning — the answer is almost always Scheffler.

Scheffler has been that dominant over his 70+ combined weeks as the top-ranked player in the world. His strokes-gained metrics since the start of 2024 showcase this as he clips a player like Justin Thomas, who has four top 12s in five starts, by almost one stroke per round. Dating back to the start of 2023, Scheffler is nearly 2.5 strokes better per tournament than Jon Rahm, who checks in at No. 2.

Comparisons to players of past eras are inevitable in every sport. There’s the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate. The Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes conversation has picked up some steam in recent years. Golf has generally shied away from comparing anyone to Tiger Woods, but it is always fascinating to listen to a player in the midst of a heater and find parallels between his experience and that of a certain 15-time major champion who went through perhaps the greatest heater in the sport’s history.

“I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him at the Masters a couple years ago. It was the day he made the 10,” Scheffler said Tuesday. “He’s just so much different than the rest of us. He’s won so many golf tournaments, and he makes a 10 on No. 12 at Augusta [National], and he birdies five of the last six holes, and it’s Sunday. I mean, it’s completely meaningless to him; like at that stage in his career, what’s the point?

“And for him just to step up there and completely turn it around — and I kid you not, he hit, still to this day, three of the best iron shots I’ve ever seen hit coming into those last few holes — and it was just unbelievable to watch.”

Scheffler is recalling the 2020 Masters, which Woods entered as defending champion. The five-time green jacket winner went to the par-3 12th with no chance of defending his green jacket at 3 under for the tournament. After hitting three balls into Rae’s Creek, Woods carded a 10 — the only double-digit score in his entire professional career — and walked off the green 4 over for the week.

Tiger then rattled off five birdies across his last six holes, including four in a row to finish his tournament in red figures. Talk about a bounce back.

Scheffler has thrived during this run by not getting bogged down against that which he cannot control. He attributes most of this to faith, family and friends, his understanding that life outside the ropes is much more important than life inside the ropes.

Scheffler gets frustrated after a poor shot like anyone else, but his ability to reboot is admirable. Just look at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last weekend where, during Saturday’s third round, he yelled on the 11th green after leaving a par putt short. It was the last putt Scheffler missed from inside 15 feet for the rest of the tournament. Talk about a bounce back.

It is that regard in which Scheffler is similar to Woods, but they reach the final result in varied ways. Tiger in his prime looked at every shot as if it was do-or-die. Scheffler looks at every shot for what it is … a golf shot. One perspective is not necessarily better than the other as both are based on the simple foundation that all strokes are worth the same when being added up at the end of a round.

“I just learned a lot by watching him,” Scheffler said. “I mean, the way he competes in this game is different than a lot of players. He puts everything he has into every shot that he hits on the golf course, which is a really underrated skill out here. Like, when he steps over a ball, at any moment in the golf tournament, whether it’s his first shot on Thursday or the last shot on Sunday, I feel like he is as into it as he could possibly be.

“I just learned that from watching him, the way he read greens, the way he approached pitch shots and iron shots and tee shots. There was never a moment in that round where he wasn’t going at it a thousand percent, which is a lot easier said than done.”