Scottie Scheffler: victory for the ‘pre-eminent golfer of this era’

Scottie Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked golfer and heavy pre-tournament favourite, began this year’s Masters knowing that his heavily pregnant wife, Meredith, could go into labour at any moment, said Rick Broadbent in The Times.

Had she done so, the American had “promised to walk off the course”, no matter where he stood on the leaderboard. Some things, he said, mattered more than golf, the birth of his first child being one of them. In the event, though, there was nothing to distract Scheffler from doing what he does best: making his rivals look ordinary. He went into the final day leading by a single shot, and “for about two-thirds of an enthralling finale the outcome was in some doubt”. 

Yet Scheffler “fended off each assault on his lead” as it arose, and finished four shots clear on 11 under, having struck a nerveless 68. He “finished in exhibition mode”, with three birdies on the final six holes. The victory means he has had two wins at Augusta National in the past three years: it is now beyond doubt that he’s the “pre-eminent golfer of this era”.

Comparisons with Tiger Woods

Such is Scheffler’s current dominance of men’s golf that “comparisons with Tiger Woods in his pomp” are in no way outlandish, said Ewan Murray in The Guardian. Although his Masters victories are, for now, his only two majors, he has racked up nine titles in total since February 2022, and last month became the first player ever successfully to defend the Players Championship in Florida. 

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Even when he doesn’t win an event, he rarely finishes outside the top five – a measure of his almost “unparalleled consistency”. Scheffler allies a formidable allround game to an almost preternatural ability to remain calm at the most critical moments – a calmness he has often attributed to his Christian faith. “One gets the impression the 27-year-old could be tickled from head to toe with a feather duster and stand completely motionless.”

Ludvig Åberg ‘the next best’ in golf

This Masters was also notable for the “remarkable rookie performance” of the 24-year old Swede Ludvig Åberg, said Oliver Brown in The Daily Telegraph. Playing in his first-ever major, Åberg struck a brilliant 69 on the final day to finish second. 

The “epitome of laconic Scandinavian cool, smiling through the setbacks and walking between holes with his hands in his pockets”, he produced one of the tournament’s most remarkable individual moments, with a 36-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole. 

It’s remarkable to think that just a year ago, Åberg was playing college golf, said David Walsh in The Times. From the 1st hole to the 18th at Augusta, he “just looked like he belonged”. There’s no doubting that Scheffler is the world’s greatest player right now – but on this evidence, Åberg is “in the conversation about who is the next best”.

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