HOYLAKE – Scottie Scheffler knows the prevailing view of him.
That he is — in his words — “a touch boring.” Emotionless. The epitome of consistency while mopping up earnings of approaching $40 million in his last two seasons on the PGA Tour.
What the world’s top-ranked golfer really wants to be known as by the end of this week at the British Open at Hoylake is a multiple major winner.
Not that it’s eating him up.
“A year without winning a major,” Scheffler said Tuesday with a smile, “would be pretty similar to the other 25 years of my life, I guess.”
As it stands, he has one major title to his name. That's from the Masters last year, which came at the end of a streak of four wins in six starts that catapulted a happy-go-lucky guy from Texas to the No. 1 ranking in a rush.
He has backed up that breakthrough year by producing remarkable consistency in 2023, collecting top-12 finishes in all 16 of his tournaments and wins at the Phoenix Open and The Players Championship. He’s on a run of seven top-five finishes, including at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
Still no second major, though.
“I think that I like to focus more on the way I approach things and my attitude than I would the actual results,” Scheffler said. “Yes, it’s so fun to win majors, but I’m not going to sit at the end of the year and look back on the year and be frustrated or upset because I didn’t win a major.”
As persistent rain fell in this corner of northwest England two days out from the start of the final major of the year, Scheffler was relishing the rare opportunity to play links golf and to hit shots he has never practiced, on a course he’d previously only seen on YouTube.
Indeed, that was pretty much the extent of his research for this British Open: Watching YouTube clips of Tiger Woods plot his way around Royal Liverpool to win the claret jug in 2006.
“I didn’t really know anything about it, other than the fact that it was really firm and he only hit one driver for the entire week,” Scheffler said.
Scheffler said his game plan for this week — like Woods 17 years ago — will be avoiding hitting into bunkers “at all costs,” which should be fine for someone who is among the best tee-to-green players in golf. He is ranked first for hitting greens in regulation and strokes gained from his approach shots.
What has stopped him from piling up the wins this year is his putting, which is ranked 134th on tour but isn't — in his opinion — as bad as it's perceived by the armchair critics.
“I think I had back-to-back tournaments that I could have won where I putted poorly,” Scheffler said, “and all of a sudden it became this thing where like I’ll watch highlights of my round and even the announcers, any time you step over the putt, it’s like, ‘Well, this is the part of the game he struggles with.’
“If you say it every time and you guys see me miss a 12-footer it’s like, ‘Oh, there it is. He’s struggling again.’”
Scheffler’s consistency this year mirrors that of Jon Rahm from September 2022 to February 2023, when the Spaniard played 10 events, won five of them and wasn’t outside the top eight.
“I think if you ask him, he’ll probably give a couple of those top fives away for an extra win because that’s what we’re here for,” Rahm said of Scheffler. “But nevertheless it’s really impressive what he’s done, and I’m a fan of players that can keep playing golf at that level for a long time.”