Golf

Dominant star would be good for golf but a tall task – Scottie Scheffler

The world number one has been tipped in some quarters for a Tiger Woods-esque run at the top of the game.

Scottie Scheffler will attempt to become the first player to win back-to-back titles in the Players Championship (John Raoux/AP)
Scottie Scheffler Scottie Scheffler will attempt to become the first player to win back-to-back titles in the Players Championship (John Raoux/AP) (John Raoux/AP)

World number one Scottie Scheffler believes he faces a “very tall task” to enjoy a sustained period of dominance despite seemingly finding the solution to his sole weakness.

Scheffler compiled one of the best ball-striking seasons ever seen in 2023, his adjusted scoring average of 68.63 being the seventh-lowest in PGA Tour history and the best by anyone not named Tiger Woods.

In total Scheffler was ranked first in nine different categories, including greens in regulation and strokes gained off the tee, but was ranked 162nd out of 193 players in putting.

World number two Rory McIlroy recently suggested that Scheffler should change to a mallet putter to cure his problems on the greens and the former Masters champion duly did so before strolling to a five-shot victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Scottie Scheffler holds the championship trophy after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational (John Raoux/AP)
Scottie Scheffler Scottie Scheffler holds the championship trophy after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational (John Raoux/AP) (John Raoux/AP)

That has given rise to speculation that Scheffler could be on his way to dominating the game for a number of years as he prepares to attempt to become the first player to successfully defend the Players Championship in its 50-year history.

“I think it would be good for the game,” Scheffler told a pre-tournament press conference at Sawgrass.

“I think anytime you have a figure that kind of dominates… like I think of the NBA, you look at Steph Curry for those years where the [Golden State] Warriors were winning a bunch, people would say they got tired of it but at the end of the day, people were still showing up and watching because he was incredible to watch, and you want to watch greatness when you’re out there.

“So I think it would be good for the game of golf, and we’ll see what happens with the sport in the next few years.

“It’s a pretty challenging game and we’ve got a lot of talent out here, so being that dominant figure I think is a very tall task to ask of anybody, but we’ve got some guys out here that I think can definitely pull it off.”

Asked to name a player, other than Woods, who had dominated the game recently, Scheffler added: “Well, you kind of put me in a little corner here by taking Tiger away.

“As far as I’m concerned and in my lifetime, Tiger’s really been the guy that’s dominated basically since 1997 up until about 2020, whenever he really got hurt. I don’t know if we’ll ever see anything like that again in the game of golf.

“As far as who else has been dominant, I think you’ve had a lot of guys that go through stretches where they are. You had Jordan [Spieth] go through his stretch, you had a year where JT [Justin Thomas] won five times, you had those years where Rory was winning majors by a bunch of shots.

“Nobody’s really been able to have the longevity that Tiger had.”