Scottie Scheffler (finally!) rides hot putter to Arnold Palmer Invitational title

Scottie Scheffler after making a putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Scottie Scheffler answered some questions about his putting this week.

Brennan Asplen/Getty Images

Shockingly, it had been 51 weeks since Scottie Scheffler last won a golf tournament.

In the time since Scheffler triumphed at the Players Championship, the World No. 1 racked up boatloads of top-10s, brought dozens of courses to their knees with his ball striking and dazzled with his touch around the greens.

But he just couldn’t get his putts to fall.

Scheffler came to Bay Hill, armed with a new, mallet-style putter, and while he didn’t get the results he wanted in a first-round 70, he caught fire on the weekend. He one-putted his first two greens Sunday to cap a career-long streak of nine consecutive one-putts and made every putt inside 15 feet.

He was in cruise control as he fired a final-round 66 Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes over Wyndham Clark. It’s the largest margin of victory at the event since 2012 and it’s Scheffler’s second career victory at “Arnie’s Place” after he won there in 2022 in the lead-up to his Masters title that year.

“I try to be as consistent as possible out here,” he said. “It’s a difficult thing doing that week-to-week out here on Tour. The golf courses are really tough, the competition is really tough, and I try to be as consistent as possible and bring the right attitude each week. So I’m definitely proud of the results over the last couple years, how consistent I’ve been and it’s nice to get a win this week.”

Scheffler solidifies his place atop the Official World Golf Ranking. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy faded Sunday to a 76 while World No. 4 Viktor Hovland finished T36. Meanwhile, the now-seven-time PGA Tour winner dominated.

Much was made over Scheffler’s putting struggles last summer and into this season, although he finished outside the top 12 in just three events during the 2023 season and won the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year Award.

“Part of the problem is just trying too hard. It’s frustrating to not have the best of myself, just because I know that I can putt really well,” he said. “It’s not like I’ve been a bad putter my whole career. I’ve just gone through a stretch where it’s been tough.”

In the fall, Scheffler started working with renowned putting coach Phil Kenyon and then this week, after Rory McIlroy suggested he play one in an interview, showed up with a new mallet putter and went to work.

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He lost a stroke and a half on the greens during Thursday’s opening round, but the switch flipped on Friday when he shot 67 to surge into a five-way tie for the lead. He led the field in putting during the final round and finished fifth for the week, the first time he’s been top-10 in putting for a week since his first PGA Tour win at the 2022 WM Phoenix Open.

“Thursday, I think, was a really important day for me,” Scheffler said. “I got off to a horrible start with the putter. I hit a really bad putt to start the day and I missed a couple other makeable ones on the first few holes. When I got to the practice range after, the discussion was not what are we going to fix. It was how well that I did. And that all goes back to the process that we’re working on and it’s not results-based.”

That’s not to suggest his normally otherworldly ball striking stats were any less than that this week. He finished first for the week in both SG: tee-to-green and SG: off-the-tee.

Nothing could phase him Sunday as he posted one of the few bogey-free rounds of the day at Bay Hill, which played as the hardest course so far this season on Tour. He was the only player in the top 5 to break 70 Sunday and had the best round of the day by two shots overall.

Even when his ball plugged in the bunker on the difficult par-3 17th. He quickly stepped up and blasted his ball to inside three feet.

But the crescendo came two holes earlier on the 15th green when he drilled a 35-footer for birdie to open up a five-shot lead.

“This is the best way to stop questioning to somebody about your putting,” NBC Analyst and putting guru Brad Faxon said. “People are going to ask him next week why are you putting so good.”

Faxon was right. For at least this week, no one will ask Scheffler why he’s putting so badly. He’s not.

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