Scottie Scheffler’s a dad. So what advice would Tiger Woods, others give him?

May 15, 2024

Literally Monday. A plot for this week’s PGA Championship here at Valhalla Golf Club had been Scheffler’s status for the year’s second major, as his wife, Meredith, was due to deliver the couple’s first child. Would he play? Wouldn’t he play? Would he play and withdraw? It’d also been a subject last month at the Masters, which Scheffler, the world No. 1, won. But Bennett Scheffler arrived on May 8, Scheffler arrived in Kentucky and now the work begins. 

There are some layers to the question, though it’s unquestionably fluffy. You can take their answers at their face value. You can maybe hear some lessons learned and such. But you can also read between the lines and see some personality quirks. Pulling back the curtain while talking about diaper changing, if you will. 

First up? Woods, the 15-time major winner. And a father of two. Notably, at first he didn’t hear the question, so I repeated it. 

“I mean, he’s got obviously he and Meredith, fantastic, having their first, and those are — as all of us who have had children, those are some tough years and ahead of them. As I said, try and get some rest as much as you possibly can. He’s the No. 1 player in the world, and having a great, stable family life at home is important to having a great life out here on Tour.”

Then there was Spieth, three-time major winner and a PGA Championship short of the career grand slam. And a father of two. Notably, I asked him a few questions. 

“I wouldn’t have — it wouldn’t have anything to do with being a golf pro,” Spieth said. “I think we’ve done a good job of taking home on the road as long as we can, until our oldest will start real school. I think knowing Scottie and Meredith, that’s probably what they will try to do as well.

“I think that it’s very doable. We go somewhere for a week and we bring home on the road with us and instead of it seeming like — or one, I would just be away from my family, which fortunate to not have to do that. Or, two, kind of not fully committing, I guess to it, and it all being a little crazy. I think we’ve just fully committed to that and I would just tell him that this is how we did it and we really like it. 

“But to each their own. Everyone likes to parent different ways. I think it’s probably the number one piece of advice you guys would say is don’t tell someone else how to parent is because everyone does it differently and it’s — I’m glad everything’s gone well and they’re doing great there at home and he is able to be here this week.” 

“No,” Spieth said, “I just think that’s kind of an obvious thing, like just tell him — like go off your own experience and then maybe people make their own choices, I think. So he knows what’s coming, he’s going to be very involved as a dad, that’s just who he is. I feel like I am, so I feel like I can — you know, if he asks, I’ll tell him how I do things, but I don’t think giving advice to him right now serves anyone in this field very well.”

Then there was Max Homa, a six-time PGA Tour winner and one of golf’s deeper thinkers. And a father of one. Notably, he paused for a few seconds before answering. 

“Man, be really nice to your wife,” Homa said. “Find a thing that you are good at, that you can help as best you can. Watch your back. Dad back is a real thing. But I think, I mean I’m sure he’ll just be giving me advice soon because he’s so good at everything. Just being really good with your time. 

“I feel like one thing I’ve gotten good at is, and I have a superstar of a wife, but when I’m at the golf course I feel very much at the golf course. I try to be super efficient. I try to make sure I’m really getting my work in. 

“Then when I’m home, I feel kind of the same. Really, you know, not to make it sound like it’s the same, but really efficient when I’m home. I feel I’m as present as I possibly can. Really try to soak in all those moments as best I can and give my son as much attention as I can because I know I’m gone most of the day and some weeks. 

“So, just getting really good at time management. I feel like that’s probably the hardest thing when you’re trying to be — or he already is, but when you’re trying to be the best at something in the whole world, yet, you know, I want to instill that work ethic and whatnot with my son, so I still want to be doing that, but I also want to be really good dad and not neglect and all that. 

“So I would just say that if you can kind of find a good plan of time management, and I feel like you’ll feel the fulfillment of both things. I think Scottie’s going to be just fine at that.”

“Well now it’s gotten different,” Homa said. “You have to just do everything. But in the very beginning, I’m pretty damn good at diapers. I don’t mind it. So, yeah, if there was ever like a spare — if there was ever we were butting heads on who was next, I would take that one. Never great at swaddling. That one killed me. But now it’s just, now we’re at a year and a half, so it’s just straight-up chaos, so my thing is just I’m the relief pitcher. I come home after practice and it’s just my turn, so just doing my best to relieve my wife as best I can.”

Then there was Jon Rahm, a two-time major winner. He is a father of two, with a third on the way. Notably, he laughed at first. 

“Oh, oh, well I think we’re all very different as parents, right. I mean it’s so early on that one thing I learned this early on is that parents are very useless when it comes to the survival of the child because they don’t depend on us for anything besides maybe rocking them to sleep and changing a diaper. That’s about it, because for everything else, mom is the one that they need.

“But I would just say obviously on the golf course — the way you need it at home is at this point, support your wife as much as possible, right. You obviously have to pick your moments, right. You probably want to get some nights’ sleep when you come back home and recover, but she probably needs a lot more rest than you do, so I would say take a few of those sleepless nights for her, and it’s also some of the best memories you’re going to have, so try to enjoy it as much as possible.”

One more. I texted Mark Immelman, an analyst, instructor and another one of the game’s better thinkers. And a father of two. Notably, he said he wanted to borrow advice he learned from Billy Harmon, of the Harmon golfing family. 

“Then I would add that he should reiterate (to his kids) that his achievements have absolutely nothing to do with what his children will achieve in golf, if indeed they achieve anything. Just keep stressing that golf is a great game and for the kids to relish everything about it.”

He said the whole childbirth process was nuts. Twice, he said that. He said him and Meredith didn’t know whether they’d have a boy or girl until the day of. He said there was no special backstory to Bennett’s name; it was simply one him and Meredith liked. He revealed that his caddie, Ted Scott, would be off the bag on Saturday in order to tend to family business of his own — a child’s high school graduation. He admitted life is good now, you know, being the Masters champ and a new pop. 

“Scottie, two-part question: Over the past couple weeks, what’s been the best piece of advice you’ve gotten on becoming a dad, and what’s the strangest piece of advice?”

“I feel like I haven’t really gotten too much unsolicited advice, which I’m a bit thankful for,” Scheffler said. “Every kid, I’m sure, is a lot different, so I think you manage them each differently. Right now I’m literally just standing there changing diapers and handing him back to Meredith so he can feed, and just letting him sleep on me. 

“It’s exciting. I couldn’t imagine it being the way that it is, and it’s a lot of fun. I miss him like crazy. It was not easy to leave the house Monday morning. 

“But like I said, I told my son as I was leaving, I was like, I don’t want to leave you right now, but I need to. I’m called to do my job to the best of my ability, and I felt like showing up Wednesday night wouldn’t really be doing myself a service this week when it comes to playing and competing in the tournament, so I had to show up, especially with the weather forecast, showing up, being prepared and ready to play and being back home as quick as I can.”