Masters winner Scottie Scheffler taking perspective from early struggles

‘There’s more pressure when you’re fighting for your career’

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler returns to action in this week’s Zurich Classic (David J. Phillip/AP)
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler returns to action in this week’s Zurich Classic (David J. Phillip/AP)

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler feels he is under less pressure as a major winner and world number one than when he was at the start of his career.

Scheffler’s victory at Augusta National was his fourth in six events in the space of just 57 days and cemented his place at the top of the world rankings.

The 25-year-old revealed he “cried like a baby” on the morning of the final round of the Masters as he wondered if he was ready to win a major title, but believes it was harder to simply make it on to the PGA Tour.

“This is my third year on Tour, I haven’t really been out here that long,” Scheffler said ahead of this week’s Zurich Classic, where he will partner Ryan Palmer in the team event.

“For me, I’m just trying to learn and continuing to improve. Fortunately I’m surrounded by a lot of guys out here who are really talented, Ryan being one of them, where I can just learn from watching them play. Nothing really changes. I’m just trying to get incrementally better.

“Of course I remember the times where I had to get up and down at (the PGA Tour’s) Q-School to get my Korn Ferry card, and trying to chase my first win on the Korn Ferry Tour, and then going from chasing my first win to trying to be number one so I didn’t have to worry about reshuffles and getting starts.

“Those things won’t change for me. I’ll always remember that time. There’s more pressure when you’re fighting for your career. There’s less pressure now where I’ve had some success.

Scottie Scheffler hugs his caddie Ted Scott after winning the 86th Masters (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

“I would say there’s more pressure going into the final round of Q-School than there is Masters Sunday because, if I fail at Q-School, I’ve got a whole other year where I don’t have anywhere to play.

“I did Monday qualifiers on the Korn Ferry Tour for seven or eight events. It’s a tough life. You go out there and shoot six under, and you don’t get to play the tournament.

“I think I shot anywhere between 35 and 40 under (in total) in seven times trying, and I got into one of them, and it was the one I shot four under because the wind was blowing 30 miles an hour.

“Those things don’t change. I look back on those because I performed under the most immense pressure that I could have had, and now that I’m out here, not that there’s less on the line, but it’s simple. I’m just trying to stay in the moment and execute shots.”

The Zurich Classic sees 80 two-man teams play fourballs and foursomes in alternate rounds, with Australia’s Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman back at TPC Louisiana to defend the title they won last year.

Viktor Hovland and Open champion Collin Morikawa have put aside their Ryder Cup rivalry to play together, while European team-mates Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry and Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood are bidding to win the title along with the Scottish pair of Martin Laird and Robert MacIntyre.

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