Scottie Scheffler is the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, the FedEx Cup, and at the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship over the past two years.
In his debut at Austin Country Club, the former Texas Longhorn made a run all the way to the finals in 2021 before falling to Billy Horschel.
Scheffler completed the deal last year as the No. 5 seed. He won his group with a 2-1-0 record. He beat Ian Poulter 2&1, lost to Tommy Fleetwood 2&1, and smoked Matt Fitzpatrick 5&4.
A rule I disagree with at this event is that a head-to-head win does not serve as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie for first place.
Scheffler likely agrees with me. After dismantling Fitzpatrick on the last day of pool play, Scheffler had to face him in a sudden death playoff to see who advanced to the bracket stage as each were 2-1-0.
The rightful player moved on in Scheffler, but it took him six sudden death holes to do it.
If he wasn’t young and spry at just 25 years old then, it might have proved costly. Instead, Scheffler swept through the bracket only going to the 18th hole once.
That was in the round of 16 in a revenge 1UP win against the No. 12 seed Horschel.
Scheffler beat No. 42 Seamus Power 3&2 in the quarterfinals, No. 8 Dustin Johnson in the semis and No. 29 and 2019 WGC-Match Play winner Kevin Kisner 4&3 in the final.
"“I think it’s fun. You can play some aggressive golf, you can play conservative,” Scheffler was transcribed by Tee Scripts in 2022. “There’s a few different ways you can kind of plot your way around here. It gets challenging when it’s this firm and you’ve got the wind blowing. There’s some challenging holes, and you’ve got to stay pretty patient out there, I think. It’s a fun test.”"
Scheffler hit a (relative) swoon to close the year, but he’s back looking like a world-beater again. The Dallas native defended his WM Phoenix Open title and won the Players Championship in his last start a couple of weeks ago.
I pick him to win his group. No. 17 seed Tom Kim is making his tournament debut and has cooled down from last summer and fall. No. 38 Alex Noren has gone 2-1-0 his last two times at this event without winning his group. I see him doing that once again.
No. 54 Davis Riley rounds it out. He’s also a debutant and lacks the pedigree Scheffler had when he made a run as a newcomer in 2021.
From there, I see Scheffler winning over Group 16 winner, No. 24 Tommy Fleetwood, in a revenge match.
In the quarters, I’ve got Scheffler stopping a surging No. 32 Jason Day. That’s followed by a win over No. 5 Max Homa in the semifinals, and then a win over No. 2 Jon Rahm in the championship match we all deserve to see.