TULSA: Top-ranked Masters champion Scottie Scheffler enters subsequent week’s PGA Championship on a run main rivals are calling “dangerous” and “borderline Tigeresque” even because the 25-year-old American downplays his feats.
The yr’s second main event tees off Thursday at Southern Hills with Scheffler attempting to grow to be the primary man to get midway to a calendar-year Grand Slam since fellow Texan Jordan Spieth in 2015.
“It’s nice to be on a good run,” mentioned Scheffler. “I really just try to stay in the moment. Goals, expectations, nothing like that changes for me. I just like being out here playing golf.”
Scheffler started an astonishing two-month run by profitable his first US PGA title in February on the Phoenix Open, then captured his second in March at Bay Hill within the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
After a disappointing share of fifty fifth at The Players Championship, Scheffler gained the WGC Match Play Championship and adopted that along with his first main title, taking the inexperienced jacket and the highest rating along with his victory at Augusta National.
“He’s setting the bar pretty high right now and obviously he’s the guy to chase for all of us,” mentioned US PGA Tour veteran Will Zalatoris. “What he’s doing is borderline Tigeresque. It’s pretty cool to see.”
Tiger Woods, the 15-time main winner who returned final month on the Masters from extreme leg accidents in a February 2021 automotive crash, will play at Southern Hills, the place he gained the 2007 PGA Championship. He examined his stamina for strolling the course in a observe spherical final month.
But Phil Mickelson, who final yr gained the PGA at age 50 to grow to be the oldest main winner in golf historical past, is not going to defend his crown, the PGA of America introduced Friday.
The US left-hander has not performed since his controversial feedback in assist of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf collection have been revealed in February. He apologized for the remarks and mentioned he wanted a break from golf. He has missed two majors in a yr for the primary time since 1993.
Mickelson was certain to face questions on his future on the US PGA Tour, which refused to grant members releases to compete within the LIV Golf opener subsequent month in London.
Scheffler performed a observe spherical earlier this month at Southern Hills.
“It’s a really good test,” Scheffler mentioned. “It appeared fairly much like what it did earlier than. Quite a lot of sight traces off the tee have been nonetheless very acquainted to me.
“Definitely cleared out a lot of trees, but other than that most of the green complexes are pretty similar.”
Spieth was the newest winner of the primary two majors in a season on the 2015 Masters and US Open. Before that it was Woods in 2002 with the identical mixture.
A schedule change has the PGA after the Masters now, a double solely three gamers have managed — Sam Snead in 1949, Jack Burke Jr. in 1956 and Jack Nicklaus in 1963 and 1975.
Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele warns that Scheffler may be a part of his fellow Americans.
“He’s very playful, practices really hard. You’re always going to see Scottie out there chipping or putting pretty late in the day,” Schauffele mentioned.
“I’m not surprised he has been winning so much and playing great. I imagine him being very comfortable, which is a dangerous place for the world number one.”
Spieth eyes profession Slam
Four-time main winner Rory McIlroy, whose late Masters cost left him second to Scheffler, threatens for a 3rd PGA crown.
“I got a lot of confidence from that round on Sunday. It’s something to definitely build on,” McIlroy mentioned.
“Everything feels pretty solid. I feel like the game’s in good shape. It’s a nice time to reboot and get ready for the summer run.”
Spieth, a three-time main champion who gained final month’s PGA Heritage, would full a profession Grand Slam by taking his first main for the reason that 2017 British Open.
“It’s going to be a really firm and fast PGA and I think it’s going to be one of the higher scoring PGAs we’ve seen,” Spieth mentioned.
Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA winner, says Southern Hills will take a look at all aspects.
“It’s difficult to get the ball around the hole,” he mentioned. “The person that does that the best is going to have the best chance of winning.”