Scottie Scheffler Travels to His Sixth Win This Year

Scottie Scheffler Travels to His Sixth Win This Year June 23, 2024

Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler—the #1 golfer in the world for nearly the past two years—just now won the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. He defeated young Tom Kim on the first hole of a sudden death playoff with a par four. It was Scheffler’s six win for the year and in only ten tournaments. The last time anyone had ever won six tournaments on the PGA Tour in any year before July 1st was Arnold Palmer in 1962.

Scheffler and Kim were playing together in the last pairing. Scheffler was leading Kim by one stroke at 22-under par total when they arrived at the 72nd and final hole of regulation play. Kim then forced a playoff as Scheffler made a par four and Kim made an eight foot birdie foot.

The first hole of the sudden death playoff was then conducted on that par four 18th hole. Both players drove well into the fairway. However, Scheffler had hit a 3-metalwood off the tee, leaving himself about fifty yards farther from the green for his second shot than Kim was. Scottie then played his second shot to about eight feet from the hole.

In my opinion, Tom Kim then made a shot selection that exposed his overly youthful exuberance. From 111 yards to the hole, he hit a fully lofted wedge. That appeared to me to have been too much loft, requiring him to hit it quite hard. The edge of the front right sand bunker was on his line to the pin. He pushed the shot to the right a little, and the ball landed in the sand and plugged. In pro golf, we call that a “fried egg.” He had a impossible shot to get close to the hole. He actually played his blast pretty good to result in a 36-foot putt beyond the hole. He lagged it to about two feet from the hole for a bogey five at best. Scottie then barely missed his birdie putt to make a par four and win the tournament.

Kim is only 22 years old and already has three wins on the PGA Tour. Scheffler is twenty-eight years old and has twelve wins on this Tour. Both Scheffler and Kim live in Dallas, Texas, and are very good friends. They often play practice rounds together at home. And Kim is said to always be picking Scheffler’s brain to learn the game from the best.

When Scheffler and Kim arrived at the green of the 72nd hole today, an incident occurred that cannot quite be compared to anything I’ve ever known about on the PGA Tour. Five young men from the roped-off gallery ran out onto that 18th green with some canisters and spray painted the green with red and white splotches. About a dozen uniformed policemen quickly charged after them, both on and off the green. The TV announcers called those five guys “protestors.” Yet they never told us viewers what those fools were protesting. I would just call them “a bunch of knuckleheads.” And we never heard anymore about them after that. The greenskeepers and PGA Tour officials briefly suspended play to repair what little damage had been done to the 18th green. They also relocated the hole more to the front of the green to ensure a more smooth putting surface.

I say “quite” because I did experience a crazy incident on the PGA Tour one time that is somewhat comparable to that. It was the last hole in the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Club in Carlsbad, California. It was the only time I ever really had a good chance to win that tournament, which was my #1 career goal. I was leading the tournament during the final round, one stroke in front of Jack Nicklaus, who eventually won. I had the biggest misfortune in my pro golf career right then, on the very short, downhill, par three, 7th hole. I hit my ball onto that tiny green, leaving myself about a twenty-five foot putt. I then putted to 18 inches short of the hole.

My misfortune was that someone playing right in front of me had dragged their foot a little and left a huge spike mark pulled up, right in the middle my line to the hole. That used to happen back in the day because we wore metal spikes on our golf shoes. (I’ve blogged about this before. You couldn’t repair spike marks. A few years ago, this rule was changed so that golfers can now stomp down any marks on the greens with their putters.) I then hit a good putt, but the ball hit that spike mark, kicked my ball way off line, and my ball didn’t even hit the cup as it slid by. So, I three putted. It seemed to have unnerved me because I got too aggressive and three putted the next hole, the 8th hole, for another bogey.

Then, on the par five 14th hole, I hit my wedge for my third shot to the green, and like Tom Kim today I took a somewhat foolish risk by going over the front left sand bunker. The ball barely lacked clearing the bunker, and like Kim today I got a fried egg. It was impossible to hit my next shot onto that small portion of the green. Thus, on my bunker shot, my fourth shot, the ball went bounding over the green. I made an eight and finished sixth in the tournament.

But on the picturesque, par five 18th hole at Pebble Beach that day, I hit my drive into the fairway, and as I was walking to my ball, some uniformed policemen and USGA tournament officials stopped me to inform me about a incident that had just occurred which was comparable to what Kim and Scheffler experienced today. That year was 1972, and that was the so-called hippie era, which had started there in California. Three pot-smoking hippies has run out onto the fairway just minutes prior to my arrival there and had chained themselves with locks to some small pine trees in the edge of the fairway. Tournament officials told me and my playing partner Bruce Crampton that they had no idea what the motive of hippies was and that they may yell at us on our backswing when we hit our second shots from very near were they were. They didn’t yell and nothing else happened. I never knew anything else about them after that.

So much for the crazy things that can happen when there are a bunch of knuckleheads in this world who just want to get attention on national television for no seemingly good reason at all.

[I’ve blogged often that Scottie Scheffler is a professing Christian who says he plays golf as a testimony to his Christian faith. He is the most prominent member of the PGA Tour Bible Study meetings which are held weekly on the Tour for players, their families, and caddies.]


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