Four-jacking your way to a Major

Scottie Scheffler, The Masters Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Scottie Scheffler, The Masters Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

Do you suppose anybody before Scottie Scheffler ever capped off a Major victory with a four-jack on the 72nd green?

That may not be the Masters closeout Scottie Scheffler envisioned in his fondest dreams, but in this crazy, mixed-up golfing world of ours, it’ll do.

Scheffler was on the back of the 18th in regulation Sunday afternoon and with the championship firmly in his grasp when he lapsed into Tuesday morning retiree-at-the-muni mode. He powered his 30-foot downhill approach six feet past the cup, pulled the comeback left and two feet by, then pushed the two-footer 18 inches long on the right.

One of the Masters radio guys tried levity. “How many times have we stood over a putt on the practice green and said, ‘this one’s for the Masters.’ Then we miss and say, ‘no, this one’s for the Masters.’ Eventually, it’s going to go in, and eventually, he’s going to win the Masters.”

The real humor lay in the fact that Scottie Scheffler could have missed that 18-incher, then missed again…and still won.

Instead, he called in his caddie, Ted Scott, to help him ‘read’ that 18-incher, then knocked it square in the cup, just like you or I would have done…in our own dreams.

Scottie Scheffler’s Masters win was more dominant than it will show

Mere feet away from a dominant five- or six-stroke victory Sunday, Scheffler had to content himself with a mere three-stroke win.

The only thing Scheffler’s four-jack cost him was a bit of status among the ranks of champions. Had he routinely two-putted that final green, he would have matched Dustin Johnson’s five-stroke winning margin from 2020. Johnson’s was the most one-sided Masters finish since Woods won by a dozen in 1997.

On a dominance scale, his final total of 10-under 278 came in at 2.45 standard deviations better than the four-round field average of 292.00. That makes it the 19th most dominant Masters victory ever achieved.

A final two-putt would have brought him home at about -2.80, ranking among the top six or seven performances in tournament history. Sic transit gloria mundi, right?

Rather than a place among the tournament’s certified immortals, Scheffler will have to content himself with the standard trappings of Masters victory: the green jacket, the Champions Dinner, the lifetime exemption, and the $2.7 million first prize. That puts him over $10 million in official earnings already this season.

He becomes only the sixth player in PGA Tour history to exceed $10 million in earnings for a full season. The other five are Jordan Spieth, $12.03 million in 2015; Vijay Singh, $10.91 million in 2004; and Tiger Woods three times: $10.97 million in 2007, $10.63 million in 2005, and $10.5 million in 2009.

And here’s a newsflash: it’s barely April.

Next. 2022 Masters: Cam Smith on 12th hole disaster “It was a terrible swing”. dark

Scottie Scheffler is almost guaranteed to break Spieth’s record – probably big-time — and not merely because three Majors and nearly five full months remain in the season. The fact is he has become virtually unbeatable. On his way to status as the world’s No. 1 ranked player, he won the WM Phoenix Open on Feb. 13, tied for seventh at the Genesis on Feb. 20, and won the Arnold Palmer on March 6. He also won the WGC-Dell Match Play two weeks ago.

The only flaw in that recent record was a tie for 55th at the Players Championship, a performance that can give everybody else on Tour a reason to believe Scottie Scheffler can actually be beaten.

Just not often.