Scottie Scheffler was asked about his putting (again). Here’s why he thinks it’s not a big deal
And while his win total on the season is just half of what it was in 2022, some — and most analytics — would argue Scheffler is even better this year than he was in his breakout PGA Tour Player of the Year season.
Most notably, Scheffler has finished in the top 12 in each of his last 18 events, a run only bettered by 2000-2001 Tiger Woods. You know, when the guy won four majors in a row? In fact, according to the analytics website Data Golf, Scheffler’s peak of +2.84 strokes gained after the Travelers Championship is the fourth best mark of all time.
His Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green of 2.805 leads the PGA Tour by nearly eight-tenths of a stroke and would be the highest number on Tour since 2006.
But all he’s ever asked about is the one part of his game that is just about average by Tour standards this season: his putting.
Scheffler is 139th on Tour in putting, averaging -.192 strokes gained on the greens (0 is average), but he’s had some absurd statitiscal outliers.
At the Memorial, he gained more than 20 shots tee-to-green, one of the best marks at any event of all-time, but finished one shot out of a playoff because he was dead-last in putting, losing more than eight-and-a-half shots to the field. It was the same story a week before at the Charles Schwab Challenge, when he was again near the bottom of the field in putting and first by a mile in SG:T2G.
That led to a putter change at the U.S. Open and two consecutive positive Strokes Gained: Putting outings before losing more than two strokes last week at the Scottish Open.
Of course, he was asked about his putting again on Tuesday at Royal Liverpool.
A lot has also been made about your putting. Do you see it as the same problem as the media sees it?
“Definitely not,” Scheffler said without hesitation. “I think that most of what has to happen is something has to be created into a story, and for a while it didn’t really seem like there was much of a story behind the way I play golf.”
Then he explained the narrative that his putting was bad was probably a product that he might be a bit “boring.”
“I think I was viewed as probably a touch boring and didn’t really show much emotion and whatever else you could think of,” Scheffler said. “But I think I had back-to-back tournaments that I could have won where I putted poorly, and all of a sudden it became this thing where like I’ll watch highlights of my round, and even the announcers, any time you step over the putt it’s like, well, this is the part of the game he struggles with.
“And it’s like, if you say it every time and [the media sees] me miss a 12-footer it’s like, oh, there it is. He’s struggling again.”
The six-time PGA Tour winner was only marginally better in 2022 when he won four times and finished 58th on Tour in putting. And part of the statistically anomoally can be chalked up to the sheer number of opportunities he’s giving himself with his ball-striking.
It’s not as though Scheffler is three-putting from 30 feet often (he’s actually improved his rank in three-putt avoidance from 80th in 2022 to 9th this season). It’s more than he’s not making all of the 12-foot birdie putts he’s giving himself … and he’s giving himself A LOT of 12-foot birdie putts. He’s also not missing them by much.
He’s not letting it bug him and seems to think the law of averages will swing things his way eventually.
“The things that I’m working on right now I feel very excited about. I’m hitting a lot of good putts,” he said. “Pretty soon, a lot of those good putts will start falling in the middle of the hole instead of dodging around the side of it.”