Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Scottie Scheffler weathers storm to claim fourth win in five starts. Is he the most dominant golfer since Tiger Woods in his prime? | CNN

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CNN
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You know the drill by now. A golf tournament is staged. After four rounds the tournament concludes. Scottie Scheffler poses with the winner’s trophy.

Just a week on from conquering a windswept Masters, the world No. 1 mastered the elements once more at a stormy RBC Heritage to reel in his fourth win in his last five starts.

Thunderstorms in South Carolina had delayed Sunday’s action for two-and-a-half hours before play was suspended due to darkness, leaving Scheffler to return to Harbor Town Golf Links on Monday to finish his last three holes.

Carrying a five-stroke advantage, a closing bogey served up no jeopardy, as the American carded a three-under-68 to finish on 19-under overall, three shots ahead of compatriot Sahith Theegala.

It seals Scheffler’s 10th PGA Tour title and a tied career-high fourth of the season as the 27-year-old continues to exert a level of dominance that is drawing increasing parallels to Tiger Woods’ seemingly perpetual presence in the winner’s circle across the 2000’s.

No golfer since Woods in 2006 had won a PGA Tour event the week after triumph at a major, while you would have to go back as far as Bernhard Langer in 1985 to find the last, and only previous, time that a golfer followed up victory at Augusta National with a win at Harbor Town.

“I didn’t show up here just to have some sort of ceremony and have people tell me congratulations,” Scheffler told reporters Monday.

“I came here with a purpose. Got off to a slow start but after that played some really nice golf.”

Questions over whether Scheffler would tee up at the tournament had only proliferated given the imminent arrival of his first child, with wife Meredith expected to give birth within the next few weeks.

The Texan had vowed to abandon his pursuit of a second career major at the Masters if his wife went into labor and stayed in close family contact this week, calling his partner on Sunday evening and seeking out parents Scott and Diane after tapping home for victory Monday.

“Hopefully I’ll be a good Dad. I’m going to do my best,” said Scheffler, whose sister is also pregnant.

“I was talking to Meredith on the phone last night, and we were both kind of like, ‘I don’t think it’s officially hit us yet that we’re going to be parents.’ I’ll definitely be leaning on my parents for a good amount of advice. They did a great job raising me and my three sisters.

“They’re still a big part of our lives. This will be their second grandchild and they’ll have their third one on the way right after that … It’s an exciting time for Meredith and me, it’s an exciting time for the rest of our family. We’re looking forward to this next journey in our life together.”

Scheffler is congratulated on another victory by his parents.

Even the sole event Scheffler hasn’t won in his last five appearances was a runner-up finish, as he missed out by two shots to Germany’s Stephan Jaeger at the Texas Children’s Houston Open in March.

To put his supremacy into context, the world ranking points gap between Scheffler (629.6) and his closest chaser Rory McIlroy (344.4) is wider than that of the Northern Irishman to world No.784 Woods (4.64), who has made just five competitive appearances since the start of 2023.

Only two players had ever previously won or finished runner-up in five consecutive PGA Tour starts; Vijay Singh in 2004, and Woods on three separate occasions between 1999 and 2008.

Scheffler closes in on victory.

Remarkably though, it’s not even the best streak in golf right now.

Compatriot Nelly Korda triumphed at the Chevron Championship on Sunday to stretch her winning run to five in a row, clinching her second major and equaling the LPGA Tour record for consecutive victories.

As the 25-year-old women’s world No. 1 prepares to chase a historic sixth this week, Scheffler is throwing in the towel – but not before one last jab.

“One of the people here asked me, ‘Is this turning into a competition between you and Nelly?’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know, man, I think if it’s a competition she’s got me pretty beat right now’,” Scheffler said.

“She had that tied-16th at the beginning of the year, which was just terrible. I can’t believe she did that,” he added with a wry smile.

“It’s pretty special stuff. To win four times in a row and then show up at a major championship and win is extremely impressive, so I’m extremely happy for her … Obviously some great golf, some historic stuff, and hopefully she keeps it up.”

Scheffler has a long way to go if he wants to claim the PGA Tour record for successive wins.

Fellow Texan Byron Nelson cemented his status as one of the game’s legendary figures with a staggering run of 11 straight victories between March and August 1945, including major triumph at the PGA Championship.

The Tour moves on to Los Angeles on Thursday for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

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