Scottie Scheffler: tiger woods is the best player ever.

Scottie Scheffler remembers the 10. He was there, after all, just a few yards away.

 

You might have seen it, too. The 2020 Masters, final round, diabolical par-3 12th. Only 158 yards. But Tiger Woods needed 10 strokes to work his ball from tee to hole. The Tiger Woods. But Augusta National cares not of name or resume. And Woods hit two balls into the water, then one into a bunker, then one into the water again, before eventually moving on to the 13th.

 

Where Woods started to be Woods again, the 15-time major winner. Scheffler remembers that, too. Cherishes it, actually.

 

 

In order, Woods birdied the par-5 13th after getting home in two. Woods parred the par-4 14th. Woods birdied the par-5 15th after a greenside chip to a couple of feet. Woods birdied the par-3 16th after dropping his tee shot to 3 feet. Woods birdied the par-4 17th after sticking his approach to 6 feet. Woods birdied the par-4 18th on a 15-footer. Five birdies in six holes — after a 10 on a par-3.

 

 

Scheffler, one of Woods’ playing partners that day, was floored. Still is.

 

“I mean, he’s definitely the best player I’ve ever seen, and I think he’s the best player we’ve ever had,” Scheffler said Tuesday in his pre-Players Championship press conference. “Anytime you can stand up there and walk alongside him and compete in the same golf tournament as him is really special.

 

“I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him at the Masters a couple years ago. It was the day he made the 10. That’s the thing is it’s all like — he’s just so much different, I think, than the rest of us. Like he’s won so many golf tournaments, and he makes a 10 on No. 12 at Augusta, and he birdies five of the last six holes, and it’s Sunday. I mean, it’s completely meaningless to him; like at that stage in his career, what’s the point? And for him just to step up there and completely turn it around — and I kid you not, he hit, still to this day, three of the best iron shots I’ve ever seen hit coming into those last few holes, and it was just unbelievable to watch.”

 

There was a lesson there, too, Scheffler said. He said he picked it up only by playing with Woods, though.

 

 

Notably, Woods isn’t at TPC Sawgrass this week. You’d think he’ll be back at the Masters next month, but you never know. A lot’s happened with Woods over the three-plus years since the 10 — a car crash, surgeries, some limited play — but so has this: He’s aged three-plus years. He’s 48 now. Insert the ‘Father Time is undefeated’ line here, right?

 

So we’ve entered reflection time. The appreciation era. There was some of that on Tuesday. Xander Schauffele was asked about Woods. Patrick Cantlay was. Scheffler, as you can tell. And what’s he done since that 2020 Masters? Imitate Woods. In 2022, Scheffler won the Masters. Last year, he won the Players. He’s world No. 1, a number Woods used to wear. Shoot, they were even asking Scheffler on Tuesday about “dominant figures” and whether that’s good for golf.

 

 

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They also wondered this:

 

What’s it like playing with Woods? Did Scheffler benefit from it?

 

He answered just the latter. Maybe you can weaponize what he gleaned for your own game.

 

Scheffler is.

 

“Well, I just learned a lot by watching him,” he started.

 

“I mean the way he competes in this game is different than a lot of players. He puts everything he has into every shot that he hits on the golf course, which I think is a really underrated skill out here. Like when he steps over a ball, at any moment in the golf tournament, whether it’s his first shot on Thursday or the last shot on Sunday, I feel like he is as into it as he could possibly be. I just learned that from watching him, the way he read greens, the way he approached pitch shots and iron shots and tee shots.

 

“There was never a moment in that round where he wasn’t going at it a thousand percent, which is alot easier I think said than done.”

 

Gideon Canice

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