Perhaps more than anything else, to succeed at golf, you need a strong mentality. Indeed, the most talented players in the world often leave golf tournaments without winning on account of succumbing to the psychological aspect of the game.
A history of wilting under the unforgiving glare of competition
The history of golf is full of cautionary tales about being overcome in the moment. In fact, fans only need to cast their minds back to Jean van de Velde’s collapse at Carnoustie in 1999, Jordan Spieth’s Master meltdown in 2016, or Phil Mickelson’s choke at the 2006 US Open to get a better appreciation of how much damage a wayward feeling of doubt can do. Essentially, in the blink of an eye, a champion who was strolling to victory is seeing their world cave in.
This well-documented phycological phenomenon, however, doesn’t seem to apply to America’s Scottie Scheffler, who seems immune to being overrun by his thoughts during moments of intense pressure. Scheffler’s iron will is certainly one of the reasons why the latest Masters betting prices him as the favourite to win.
At least, anyone searching for the most recent Paddy Power golf odds will see this is the case as the outright Masters betting market lists Scheffler at 8/1 to win the showdown at Augusta National. In-the-know golf fans will be aware that this is actually the price Scheffler has been given to defend the title on account of the fact that the 26-year-old won the 2022 Masters tournament.
Steady rise for Scottie Scheffler 📈— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 13, 2023
A look at his continuous climb to World No. 1. pic.twitter.com/XtHgkbGc6k
On that occasion, the Texan won by three shots despite a momentous charge from Rory Mcllroy who set the clubhouse lead after holing out for birdie in spectacular fashion on the 72nd hole.
Scheffler powers through the back nine on Sunday
The deafening shouts of joy from the greenside patrons that followed the Northern Irishamn’s exquisite chip from the bunker would have rippled through the trees at Augusta National and reverberated in Scheffler’s soul a few holes away but still, that wasn’t enough to put him off as he played the closing stretch without putting a foot wrong. Make no mistake, the stage was set for a meltdown but Scheffler called on his inner peace to guide him home and up to the Butler Cabin where he would be awarded the iconic green jacket.
A year after that and again, Scheffler showed remarkable calmness to win the Players Championship – dubbed golf’s fifth major – by five shots. This time, it was Tyrrell Hatton who set the clubhouse lead at -12 but Scheffler didn’t miss a beat on one of golf’s most notorious stretches of finishing holes to record a -17 overall score.
These are stirring examples of the power of mental fortitude on the golf course and clearly demonstrate that Scheffler has a significant advantage over his peers. But what is it exactly that enables the 26-year-old to keep his head when others are losing theirs?
It’s only a game
To truly understand where Scheffler’s unflappable temperament comes from, you have to go back to the moment he won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in 2022. Having just sunk the winning putt, Scheffler’s father made his way onto the green to congratulate his son, the first thing he said to him was that he was a wonderful young man and that he was more proud of who he was as a person than anything he had ever done on the golf course.
“You’re a WONDERFUL young man!” 🙌— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) March 28, 2022
New World No.1 Scottie Scheffler shares an emotional moment with his Dad after winning the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Tournament ❤️ pic.twitter.com/szfEpX3f3d
It is not an inconsequential moment in Scheffler’s career and shines a revealing light on how the 26-year-old was brought up in an environment where conducting himself with dignity on the golf course was more important than winning, given that it was only a game that was meant to be enjoyed. In other words, those closest to him never put pressure on Scheffler to win and instead put the onus on the benefits of a respectable demeanour in the heat of battle.
Despite the success that Scheffler finds himself in, the reality is that these values have never left him which ultimately means he is able to keep a level head during moments that would bring others to their knees.