By Tim Liotta
Scottie Off to a Tiger, Jack start in Majors
Scheffler, set to be in the field for the 151st Open Championship, will be looking to extend a streak of major-championship finishes that deserves to be compared the early major championship records of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
In the 13 major championship since he first contended and finished second at the 2020 PGA Championship, Scheffler has one win, two seconds, one third, five top-fives, nine top-10s, and 12 of his 13 starts have been top-25 finishes.
In the 13 major championships after he won the 1997 Masters - his first major as a professional - Woods posted two wins, one third, four top-fives, eight top 10s and 12 of his 13 starts were top-25 finishes.
In the 13 major championships after he first contended and finished second in the 1960 U.S. Open, Nicklaus posted three wins, two seconds, two thirds, eight top-5s, nine top-10s and 11 of his 13 starts were top-25 finishes.
In his most-recent major - the 123rd U.S. Open, Scheffler launched himself into serious contention by holing a 196-yard shot on the 515-yard, par-4, 17th hole of his third round, and followed up with with closing birdie to put himself within three shots of co-leaders Wyndham Clark and Rickie Fowler going into the final round. Scottie never got anything going on Sunday, and finished third behind Clark and Rory McIlroy the same three shots.
"I just felt like I wasn't sharp enough today to move up the board," Scheffler said. "I did a good job of keeping myself in it but I just wasn't sharp enough."
Scheffler actually drove the ball well in the final-round, hitting 11-of-13 fairways, however, he was able to hit only 11 of 18 greens.
"I was trying to hit some good shots and get some looks and I felt like on the front nine I didn't give myself enough opportunities for birdie," he said. "And on the back nine, I bogeyed 11 and 12, which kind of hurt my momentum. But then I bounced back nice with a birdie on 13. It's just tough out there. You've got to put the ball in the right spots and it's tough to make putts."
Despite his final-round frustrations, Scheffler came away with positive feelings about his U.S. Open performance.
"I fought hard today, and I'm obviously a little frustrated to come up short, but I put up a good fight, and Wyndham played some fantastic golf this week and so he is a well deserving champion," Scheffler said.
Consistency has a season-long trait for Scheffler, who in 15 starts in 2023 has yet to finish below a T12, and nine top-fives, with a T2 at the PGA Championship and a win at The Players Championship.
"Yeah, I played solid golf this year," Scheffler said prior to the Scottish Open. "I'm very proud of that. As far as going into the rest of the season, I treat every tournament the same so I have a good attitude and ready to play."
Scheffler arrived in Scotland rested, but was not sure about the readiness of his game.
"I did take a good bit of time off after the Travelers," he said. "I was pretty tired when we got back home.
"My prep for this week may not be as strong as it usually would be, but the rest for me definitely was an important factor coming into this week and next week."
Scheffler finished T8 in the 2021 Open Championship, and finished T21 last year at the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, but was T5 going into the final round before shooting a two-over-par 74. Scheffler, who was one of only three of the top 60 players in last year's Open Championship to post above-par scores in the final round, says he has taken to playing links golf.
"I like the ability to have to hit all different kind of shots," said Scheffler before the Scottish Open. "I like the way that around the greens I can use any type of club. I think it's more the way golf was designed to be played and coming over here, and getting to do it for a few weeks a year is definitely great fun. So yeah, I love it."
Scheffler has led the PGA Tour in strokes-gained Approach and Greens-In-Regulation for the past two seasons, but has fallen from 58th to 133rd in Strokes Gained: Putting. And he's heard about it.
"As my putting struggles have continued in y'alls' minds, I've gotten back to No. 1 in the world and I've had a bunch of top five finishes," Scheffler said prior to the Scottish Open. "Granted, if I can make a few more putts, those would have been more wins.
"But at the end of the day I'm proud of tournaments this year and playing solid golf, and that's what I'm working on."