After seeing Scottie Scheffler contend in his first major championship as a pro at the PGA Championship, it was a shame COVID-19 robbed him of his chance to compete at the U.S. Open.
At least the 24-year-old Texan has already recovered. I was unable to find out if he was symptomatic or not, but I imagine he handled it well if he’s already willing to tee it up in a minor tournament like this.
Here’s to hoping a couple weeks from competition doesn’t halt his run of form. Scheffler was the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year and was recently named the 2019-2020 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
The former Texas Longhorn did about everything but win. Scheffler made his first eight cuts of the season, as well as 14 of 19, He took third place at the Bermuda Championship and The American Express, as well as fourth at the PGA Championship and The Northern Trust.
His ROY honor was likely already locked up by East Lake. A T-5th finish (2nd gross) at the Tour Championship was the cherry on top.
Scheffler is akin to the younger generation in that they can hang with the big boys from tee to green but lack the experience to keep up on and around the greens. He ranked 10th on the PGA Tour last season in strokes gained off the tee (.618) and 33rd in SG approach (.398), while dropping to 58th SG around the green (.115) and 117th SG putting (-.053).
I’m not sure those latter two categories will go on to be his strengths, but they should at least be more serviceable. laying courses on the schedule for the second time will make that an easier endeavor.
In the case of the Sanderson Farms Championship, this year is actually his third appearance. Scheffler finished T-45th (68-72-70-73) on a sponsor’s exemption in 2018 and T-16th (68-66-72-70) a year ago. A bunched leaderboard in 2019 left him only six off the winning score.
Scheffler enters the week on a streak of six straight top-25s. Look for him to extend the streak and then some.