Scottie Scheffler just had one of the weirdest weeks in PGA Tour HISTORY
Someday, when Scottie Scheffler’s name is but a twinkle in the eye of the most hardened golf fan, there will be only memories. Memories that will begin, in some way, with this week at the Memorial Tournament.
Scheffler did not win the Memorial. Nor did he spend most of the weekend particularly close to victory. He finished Sunday’s final round some two hours before the final groups followed suit. He ended the tournament some one stroke short of the eventual winner, Viktor Hovland.
And yet, as he charged up the 18th fairway at Muirfield Village, it was clear that Scheffler had just completed a week unlike any other in his career. In fact, it was a week unlike any other in PGA Tour history. But perhaps not for the reasons he’d hoped.
This week at the Memorial, Scheffler had the second-best ball striking performance of anyone in the last 20 years on the PGA Tour. And that performance came on the heels of the worst putting performance of anyone in the field at Muirfield Village.
“Ball striking is doing alright,” the typically understated Scheffler said in his post-round media availability with CBS. “I was talking yesterday with Teddy and I feel like I’ve had to elevate my ball striking because my putter has been poor.”
Indeed, the ball-striking is doing alright. Better than alright, it turns out. According to numbers guru Justin Ray, Scheffler’s 20.74 strokes gained: tee-to-green ranks as the second-best such performance in a week since the PGA Tour began tracking that data 20 years ago — just four-tenths of a stroke behind Vijay Singh’s 21.14 SG: T2G performance at the 2004 Deutsche Bank.
And indeed, the putter has been poor. Scheffler’s -8.58 strokes gained: putting ranked as dead-last in the field at Muirfield Village, nearly nine strokes off the tournament average performance. The eye-test proved equally as damning on Sunday, with Scheffler missing birdie putts of 3 feet, 5 inches; 7 feet, 4 inches; and 12 feet, 3 inches on the back nine alone. He finished shy of a playoff with the tournament’s top two finishers, Hovland and Denny McCarthy, by just one stroke.
“I feel like I’m making progress,” Scheffler told reporters after his round. “Like I said at the PGA, I can start feeling the ball coming off the blade again, which is good. I felt like at the Masters and was it Hilton Head? It didn’t feel as good. Even today, I just go through my round and I’m like how did some of these putts not go in?”
Surely, Scheffler will find himself sharing a similar sentiment — how did these not fall? — when he reviews the tape later this evening.
“It’s just one of those deals,” Scheffler said. “Sometimes those putts go in and sometimes they don’t. Jon [Rahm] and I, we were kind of joking after the round on Friday how bad we were both putting. But we both were thinking the same thing, that some of those putts look like they’re going in and about 2 feet away you’re ready to go pick it up out of the hole and then it just doesn’t fall. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating. I’m pretty frustrated with it right now.”
Frustration is understandable. It’s hard to argue that even a slightly below-average putting performance would have resulted in another Scheffler victory on Sunday at Jack’s place.
“I think maybe people are asking me about my putting so much more because I’m hitting it so good, but it’s not easy,” he said. “I mean, if I was putting the best this week, I would have won by a crazy amount of shots.”
Instead he heads home the recipient of the best ball striking performance of his young career — and one of the strangest PGA Tour weeks in recent memory.
Only in golf.