Scottie Scheffler was asked about becoming No. 1. His answer was stunning. 

Scottie Scheffler on Sunday before accepting his trophy for winning the WGC-Match Play.

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“You were the runner-up last year at this championship. This year, winning it puts you as the world No. 1-ranked player. Can you just describe what it takes and what that accomplishment means to you.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll believe it when I see it when I see on the world rankings tomorrow. But …”

As the NBC cameras rolled, Scottie Scheffler began to answer announcer Kathryn Tappen’s question, then stopped. He’s an honest man, and if he was going to answer sincerely, he needed a sec. 

The past 15 minutes had been a blur. In short order late Sunday afternoon, Scheffler had defeated Kevin Kisner 4 and 3, won the WGC-Match Play for his third title in five events, and, as Tappen said, moved to No. 1. The tournament was also played in his home state (Texas), and in his college town (Austin), and on a course he’s played dozens of times (Austin Country Club), though that was obvious by the support. 

After Scheffler shook hands with Kisner, shook hands with Kisner’s caddie, Duane Bock, hugged and fist-bumped his caddie, Ted Scott and shook hands with an official, he hugged his wife, Meredith. They both wiped away tears. They then hugged again. Tappen asked for an interview, and Scheffler politely said, “Sorry, do mind waiting one sec? Sorry.”

More Schefflers approached. With more hugs. His dad’s words were caught by NBC mics. 

“I love you, Scott. I’m more proud of who you are than your golf. You’re a wonderful young man.” The younger Scheffler laughed a bit.     

“I would say this week, it’s definitely got a special place in my mind and heart,” he said in his post-tournament press conference. “I’ve got a lot of good memories being here in college. It’s been a long journey to this point. I had some pretty low points in college where I really fought my swing and I fought some injuries. I fought a lot of stuff during college.

“To be out here and win this golf tournament in front of the fans down here is really special. Like I said, I always dreamed of playing in this tournament, and just to be out here was a treat, and to be able to play seven rounds and finish and win is really special.”

How did he get to No. 1? Technically, of course, through his golf. And an absurd run. At the start of last month, he won the Waste Management Phoenix Open for his first PGA Tour win. He then won again, two starts later, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. And then again on Sunday. He had gone from answering questions of when he’ll win, to answering those of when he’ll lose. Of course, this was always the plan. 

“I grew up wearing long pants to go practice because I wanted to be a professional golfer,” Scheffler said in his post-round press conference. “That’s what I dreamed of. I dreamed of being out here. I’ve always been, I would say, fiercely competitive, and so for me getting out here was a goal per se, and being out here, I like competing and I enjoy the challenge of playing out here every week. Just competing out here is really fun for me and just being able to win tournaments is pretty awesome.

“The rankings never really crossed my mind. It was always just about being out here and competing.”

After the hugs and tears and words with his wife, family and friends, he was presented his trophy. On NBC, Tappen asked three questions. Here was the third, and Scheffler’s answer. 

“You were the runner-up last year at this championship. This year, winning it puts you as the world No. 1-ranked player. Can you just describe what it takes and what that accomplishment means to you.”

 “Yeah, I think I’ll believe it when I see it when I see on the world rankings tomorrow. But, um, you know, I never really got that far in my dreams, to be honest with you. I just … You know … [Scratches face.] [Steps away.] [Wipes face.] [Crowd cheers.] [Wipes face.] 

“I never made it that far. [Scratches back of head.]

“I just love playing golf, and I love competing. [Scratches back of head.] I’m just happy to be out here, to be perfectly honest with you.”

He answered sincerely.  

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.