Scottie Scheffler might be a flash in the pan. He might be golf’s next big superstar. One thing’s for sure, writes Alex Perry, his record-equalling run has ruined this year’s Masters for us armchair fans
Hello. Day two of the Masters very rarely fails to deliver and this year is no different. But what was shaping up to be a wonderful weekend of golf was somewhat spoiled in the last couple of hours of Friday by a quite spectacular showing from Scottie Scheffler.
In case you haven’t been paying attention to tour-level golf much in the past couple of months, that’s OK. Plenty of us don’t start until we start smelling the azaleas. But you might have missed Scheffler’s astonishing rise to the top of the game.
The American not so much burst onto the scene last year as he did sneak onto it. He finished in the top 10 in three of the majors before shooting just the 12th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history. He crept in the back door at the Ryder Cup, where he earned two and a half points in the USA’s record-smashing victory at Whistling Straits, including a singles victory over then World No 1 Jon Rahm.
As the calendar ticked over into 2022, Scheffler wasted no time in taking his game to the next level. And how.
In his 75th PGA Tour start, he won his first title.
In his 77th PGA Tour start, he won his second.
In his 79th PGA Tour start, he won his third and dislodged Rahm at the top of the rankings.
In his 80th PGA Tour start, who would dare bet against him at the halfway stage?
Scheffler opened day two bogey-birdie-bogey, but a trio of birdie clusters – first at seven and eight, then 12 and 13, then 15 and 16 – meant a second-round 67 and a whopping five-shot lead at 8-under.
Go home, folks. This one’s over.
Not only that, it equalled a Masters record. According to stats guru Justin Ray, the biggest 54-hole lead in Masters history is five.
Incidentally, four of those five went on to win, with Harry Cooper the unfortunate exception way back in 1936.
But make no mistake – this is not a fluke. Scheffler is 15-under in his 10 rounds at the Masters. In the last 30 years, only Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau can better that.
Scheffler has an absurd pedigree in his very short major career. Since the start of 2020, his record reads T19-T4-T18-T8-T7-T8.
In 1997 we witnessed a changing of the guard as Nick Faldo slipped the Green Jacket onto Tiger Woods. A quarter of a century later, Scheffler is in pole position to add a 1 to that run. If he does, Woods may just be handing the baton to his fellow American.
Where does this rank in the great Tiger Woods performances of all time? Top five? Certainly top 10. He won’t win, but my word who had him even making the cut? It was, at times, excruciating to watch. Every time he hit the ball, we winced with him. He looked in agony, but it didn’t stop him working wonders with his irons.
“I’m feeling it,” he said, with a laugh. “We’ll see what time we’re off tomorrow and plan accordingly, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
All in all, it’s his 22nd consecutive cut at the Masters and the GOAT lives to fight another two days. Speaking of which…
Stat of the day
The last time Tiger Woods missed the cut at Augusta was as an amateur in 1996. Two and a half months before Scottie Scheffler was born.
Who’s heading home?
Jordan Spieth and that bloody 12th hole! The 2015 champion – who so famously blew up at Golden Bell a year later to all but hand Danny Willett the Green Jacket – found the water again at the par-3 and he will miss the weekend at Augusta for the first time.
Brooks Koepka tied Spieth in 59th place, while Bryson DeChambeau – who said pre-tournament he was “only 80 per cent fit” – failed to break 80 on day two. Four of the six amateurs, as well as the 50+ crowd of Larry Mize, Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer and Mike Weir all finished ahead of DeChambeau.
Shot of the day
Stewart Cink became the 34th player to have a hole-in-one at the Masters – and you can watch that here as well as a rundown of everyone to have ever aced at Augusta – but I’m giving this one to Bubba Watson for this ludicrous escape from under the trees…
And we have to have a special mention for Shane Lowry. The Irishman found the trees at the par-4 10th, then his hoik from under the branches landed in a precarious position just shy of the green-side bunker. Then his magic hands did this…
Bizarre moment of the day
You don’t see this too often. Hudson Swafford’s clubhead came flying off as he played his approach to the 13th. Incredibly, he still made par…
Hudson Swafford’s club head just flew off on his approach into 13 and he still somehow managed to get it over Rae’s creek pic.twitter.com/BTT3NJk5jP— Hannah Holden (@HannahHoldenNCG) April 8, 2022
We know what you’re thinking. What if this happens to me on the golf course? You know full well that our Rules of Golf expert Steve Carroll buried his head straight in the book and came up with the answer for you…
Right. That’s enough for today. Enjoy the Scottie Scheffler Masters, folks. I’ll be back same time tomorrow for more of the above.
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