Peerless Scottie Scheffler wins the 2024 Masters to evoke Tiger Woods comparisons

April 18, 2024

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They say that the Masters does not start until the back nine on a Sunday. Not for Scottie Scheffler, it doesn’t. For the second time in three years, this is exactly when he ended it, clinically pulling clear towards the Butler Cabin as all those around him lost their heads.

There was no ‘if’ about it. Scheffler was supreme when birdieing three in a row from the eighth and then, after a blip on the 11th, birdieing the 13th and 14th to make it clear that the only person possibly stopping the world No 1 could be his wife.

Yes, Scheffler was adamant that he would leave the competition no matter where he stood on the course or the leaderboard if Meredith went into labour with their first child.

“I’m coming home, I’ll be home as quick as I can,” Scheffler said when asked if he had a message for his wife. “I wish I could soak this in a little bit more but all I can think about is getting home. It’s a very, very special time for both of us.”

The 27-year-old has his priorities correct and on the evidence of the last few months, he will soon be racking up the majors apace anyway. He is that good, that composed, that serene and that imperturbable.

“I definitely will enjoy the birth of my first child, and my priorities will change very soon, so golf will be fourth in line, but I still love competing,” he said. “I don’t plan on taking my eye off the ball any

If his rivals did not realise already, they have been warned. Scheffler came in at the head of the betting market at prohibitive 7/2 odds, but in the event made that gamble look a steal as he became the first favourite since Tiger Woods in 2005 to prevail. Inevitably, the comparisons with Woods in his prime will begin in earnest. And why not? In his last tournaments, Scheffler has won three times and been second in the other.

These are, indeed, Woods numbers. Yet in one respect he has eclipsed the red-shirted one. Scheffler has donned two green jackets in his first five Masters starts and only Horton Smith can boast the same. Except, the Missouri war hero completed his double in the first three Masters ever staged in the Thirties. In the modern age, Scheffler’s feat is unprecedented.

And the truly astonishing fact is that Scheffler was not at his most adept this week. Granted, he turned it on when he had to, but that is what great champions do and there can be no doubt that he is a great champion.

There will even be talk of golf’s first calendar grand slam this year, and even if that sounds as ridiculous as “the second coming of Tiger” claims, that is how impressive he has been in this run. Just like in 2022, he sucked the atmosphere out of the famously frenetic back nine, playing it in 33 shots for a 68 and an 11-under total.

Just to make another Tiger connection again, Scheffler is the type of front-runner who creates an award-winner by completely ruining the drama.

There were four sharing the lead after six holes – playing partner Collin Morikawa later tumbling with two double-bogeys in four holes and another American in Max Homa seeing his only challenge essentially die with a five on the notorious par-three 12th after an unplayable drop – but Scheffler was unrattled. The cavalry charge all soon became a procession.

In fairness, Ludvig Aberg, the remarkable young Swede, made sure to keep him honest – although, there is nobody more honest on Tour than this God-loving Texan – and, despite finishing four shots short, could celebrate one of the great debuts at Augusta.

Not only did Aberg, by finishing runner-up, emulate Jordan Spieth for the best Masters performance by a first-timer since Fuzzy Zoeller won in 1979, but he produced the finest display ever at Augusta by a player in his first major.

Aberg’s 69 for a seven-under total gave further emphasis on the wisdom of Luke Donald to pick him for a Ryder Cup wildcard last October and highlighted what an asset Europe has in its teamroom.

Donald would also have been delighted by Tommy Fleetwood coming in a tie for third, alongside Homa and Morikawa, in his most notable Masters display to date. The Englishman did not make a single bogey in his 69 and nobody else i