How does Scottie Scheffler deal with hecklers? He gets practice from a surprising source

Scottie Scheffler of the United States and caddie Ted Scott smile on the 18th green during the final round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 12, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

How does Scottie Scheffler prepare for the WM Phoenix Open gauntlet of fan noise? He says he gets practice from a surprising source.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Here at the WM Phoenix Open, the atmosphere is everything. Fans are loud and heckling is a given. And it’s not just limited to the famous 16th hole. What used to be a single stadium has expanded over the years, with multi-level hospitality enclaves lining the 17th and 18th holes as well.

If you want to be successful at TPC Scottsdale, it’s important to embrace the chaos. Scottie Scheffler is a player who seems to understand the assignment. He’s going for a three-peat in Scottsdale this week after winning the tournament’s previous two editions.

“It’s definitely a lot of fun playing in this event,” Scheffler said in his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. “It’s fun getting — it’s not as fun getting booed, but it’s fun getting the loud cheers out there when you do something good, but you pay the price when you hit a bad shot, too.”

With hundreds of thousands of people on-site at TPC Scottsdale throughout the tournament, enjoying the party-first vibe, heckling is a given. But how does Scheffler prepare for the gauntlet of fan noise? Turns out, he gets practice from a surprising source.

“I’m fairly used to the heckling,” he said. “Where I practice at home, I’ve got a good group of guys that we play golf with and I get heckled pretty often, and when I’m practicing on the range there’s usually a group of 10- to 15-year-old kids that are trashing me all the time, so the heckling is something I’m pretty used to.”

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Teens and pre-teens who are comfortable trash-talking the World No. 1 while he’s practicing? That’s bold! Ultimately, though, Scheffler says the key to staying calm throughout his round comes from his preparation.

“When I go out to the first tee, I just remind myself that I’ve done everything I could to play well,” he said. “What that means is when I’m at home, I practice as hard as I can, I remain focused, and then when I step up on the first tee, it’s all about controlling what I can control.

“All I can do on the first tee is have a shot in mind and do my best to hit that shot, and the rest isn’t up to me,” he continued. “I may get a bad bounce in the fairway. The ball may run into a divot. I may get a gust of wind. But all I can do is focus on controlling what I do versus everything else.”

Scheffler’s three-peat quest begins at 2:33 p.m. ET on Thursday, when he’ll play alongside Wyndham Clark and Hideki Matsuyama. For more info on how to watch the action, click here.

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As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on