Scottie Scheffler was struggling. A major winner’s classy gesture followed

Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler on Saturday on the 12th green at East Lake Golf Club.

Getty Images

Keegan Bradley played with Scottie Scheffler on Saturday afternoon. On Friday night, he couldn’t wait. 

“Yeah, I’m always impressed,” Bradley said. “I’m impressed watching Viktor [Hovland] play. I’m impressed watching Collin [Morikawa] play. I think I’m playing with Scottie tomorrow. I’m excited to watch him play. This younger generation of players is exciting to watch.

“I love being out there and playing with these guys.”

Then Bradley and Scheffler got to East Lake Golf Club’s 9th. 

Notably, it had been five years since Bradley had been to East Lake, period, where the PGA Tour plays its season-ending Tour Championship. And before this year, 2018 was also the last time he’d won, too. The 2016 ban on anchor-putting had stung the 2011 PGA Championship winner. His putting had suffered. He had struggled to find form. But this has been a comeback season for the now-37-year-old. 

Last October, he won the Zozo Championship. In June, at the Travelers Championship, he won again. And just look at those putting stats. This season, he’s 26th in Strokes Gained: Putting; for comparison, just two seasons ago, he was 186th. Things have been so good, they’re mentioning Bradley among those up for a captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. 

But man, he half-jokes, why does everyone keep bringing that up?! So Bradley’s leaning into it. 

“Yeah, I think about it every second,” he said. “I would like to sit here and lie to you guys and say I’m not thinking about it, but like periodically throughout the round, it will pop into my head. But it’s impossible for me not to think about. So I’m sort of trying to embrace it. I’m playing good golf. But the FedExCup’s most important right now.”

Scheffler’s season, meanwhile, has been other-worldly. His whole career has been actually, albeit just five years old. Last year, he won four times, including at the Masters. This year, he’s won twice, including at the Players Championship. But it’s more than that. Most of his numbers across the board have folks whispering Scheffler’s name with that Tiger Woods dude.

What makes Scottie Scheffler’s game so ridiculous? Ask Rory McIlroy
By: Dylan Dethier

“He could end up with the best ball-striking season of all time,” Rory McIlroy said earlier this week. “He’s hit the ball as good, if not better, than Tiger hit it in 2000. Which is the benchmark for all of us.”

But back up. Did you notice a couple of words above? Here they are again. In italic.   

Most of. 

Scheffler isn’t putting well. Maybe it’s him. Maybe it’s his putter. Maybe it’s golf. But he’s 145th in SG: Putting. And the outlier has been a subject this year. He’s maintained he’s OK, that the lip-outs will lip in and so forth. But these things can wear on you. And creep into other parts of your game. Doubt has no out-of-bounds stakes.  

You at least had to be wondering that Thursday, during the opening round of the Tour Championship, when Scheffler made two bogeys and a double over a five-hole stretch in a one-over 71. He was 30th in the 30-man field that day in SG: Putting, and the lead that he had entered with, thanks to a staggered-strokes format, was gone. But Friday was better. Scheffler shot a 65. He was fifth in SG: Putting.   

But Saturday was a mess. 

Nothing fell. On the par-5 6th, Scheffler three-putted from 11 feet. On the par-4 7th, he three-putted from 71. On the par-4 8th, he dropped an 11-footer. 

Then Bradley and Scheffler got to East Lake Golf Club’s 9th. 

2023 Tour Championship tee times: Round 4 pairings for Sunday
By: Kevin Cunningham

Where Scheffler rolled in a 3-footer for par. 

And the playing partner who had been excited to be his playing partner put out his right fist as he stood about 10 feet away. 

And forty-five holes into playing for an $18 million first prize, Bradley walked toward the pro who was going through some things that he had once suffered through.

And they fist-bumped. 

And they walked off the green together. 

Now, this is nothing rare, nor did Scheffler start raining everything in, though he did finish with makes of 12, 12 and 6 feet. And maybe you missed it. And maybe who cares. 

But damn, right? All the feels. 

“Sportsmanship by Keegan there to congratulate him on that up-and-down,” announcer Jim Nantz said on the CBS broadcast. 

Damn right. All the feels. 

Golf Magazine

Subscribe To The Magazine

Exit mobile version