Scottie Scheffler: 5 things to know about the rookie contending at the PGA Championship
As Scottie Scheffler navigates TPC Harding Park for the final round of the PGA Championship, he will be attempting to win his first career major championship in just his fourth start. If he’s successful, he’ll be the ninth golfer to win the PGA Championship in his debut, and the first since Keegan Bradley in 2011.
If you aren’t familiar with the rookie, we forgive you. He is a bit of an unknown and the player with the least experience near the top of the leaderboard. Here are five things to know about Scheffler.
1. He played collegiately at the University of Texas
Scheffler had a solid four-year career for the University of Texas after electing to stay in-state and play for the Longhorns after a heralded amateur career. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2013 and also won three consecutive individual high school state championships in Texas, joining Jordan Spieth as the only other golfer to complete the feat.
His career in Austin got off to a solid start as he won the Phil Mickelson award as the top freshman in the country, but much of his collegiate career he was plagued by back injuries. He still won two individual titles in college, including the Big 12 Conference Championship, but injuries were a recurring theme during his time in college.
2. He was the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year during his rookie season in 2019
After turning pro following college graduation, Scheffler played on mini tours and in Monday qualifiers before heading to Q school in the fall. He advanced to the final stage and secured starts on the number in Arizona.
Once on the Korn Ferry Tour he wasted no time making himself a household name. He won two events on the season and led the tour in birdies and scoring average, locking up full status on the PGA Tour for his rookie season.
3. He makes birdies in bunches
Despite learning new courses each week and dealing with elevated competition, Scheffler has had no trouble making the jump to the PGA Tour. He’s averaged 4.27 birdies per round, ranking 11th on Tour. His biggest struggle during his rookie season has been avoiding big numbers, as he ranks outside the top 60 in bogey avoidance.
4. He’s got serious distance, too
Scheffler might not be a name that comes to mind when you think of bombers on Tour, but he still has plenty of distance. He averages 309.9 yards per drive, which ranks 12th for the season, and he is 10th on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee.
5. He’s quietly puting together a strong Rookie of the Year campaign
Scheffler doesn’t have nearly the fanfare of some of the other young stars on Tour, but he’s still in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. He’s made 14 cuts in 19 events on the season, and he has two third-place performances as well as nine top-25s. He’s also in solid position to qualify for the Tour Championship at season’s end. The only thing missing from his resume is a win.