The Players Championship: Scheffler thrilled to join Nicklaus and Tiger's 'very special' elite group

By Sports Desk March 12, 2023

Scottie Scheffler says it is "very special" to join golf greats Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to hold the Masters and Players Championship titles at the same time.

Scheffler won the Players' Championship at Sawgrass on Sunday by five strokes, re-claiming the world number one ranking in the process.

The 26-year-old American's dominant victory comes after winning last month's Phoenix Open, along with last season's PGA Player of the Year after collecting his first four tour titles.

Scheffler has won six of his past 27 events, but joining Woods and Nicklaus in a rare group meant a lot to him.

"It's quite a special group of people," Scheffler told reporters, before joking: "We could add all our majors and Players together and I have two now and they have a lot more than that.

"But any time you can get mentioned in the same breath as Tiger and Jack it's very special. I'm very grateful for that."

Scheffler's career-best form comes with his Masters' defence a month away, and he described how his game has matured over the past 18 months.

"I'm just comfortable with where my game is," Scheffler said. "I feel like I'm improving. I'm definitely learning more and the more you can get into contention and be in the moments. I would say that's probably the most valuable thing is knowing what you feel like and being able to prepare for it.

"I am a bit more comfortable knowing what I need to do. I think before Phoenix [in 2022] I had this idea that I had to play perfect on Sundays and hit nothing but good shots and that's not necessarily how golf is played. Very rarely do I hit it exactly how I want to and maybe only a couple times a tournament. Most of it is just managing your way around a golf course.

"Going into the Masters, it's going to be a fun week… but by the time we tee it up Thursday everybody starts at even par so it probably doesn't have much of an effect."

The American went on a run of five birdies around the turn at Sawgrass, picking up shots at each hole from eight to 12, on the way to a 69 that took him to 17 under, finishing five shots clear of Tyrrell Hatton. Scheffler broke 70 in all four of his rounds.

"I played really well the whole week, really solid," Scheffler said. "I had some times throughout week where I didn't feel like I was swinging my best or playing at a 100 per cent, and then I would just kind of wait and pick my moments, and fortunately, I got kind of hot in spurts in each of my rounds, whether it was the back nine on the first round or eight-through-12 this afternoon.

"I just found a way to choose my moments and get hot here and there and had four just really solid rounds."

Scheffler's dominance at the notoriously challenging Sawgrass was an ominous sign for the Masters at Augusta National.

"I get excited for a good hard test," he said. "I feel like that I can find a way to make pars and hang in there.

"This week I think I had five bogeys for the whole week. Around this place that's really, really hard to do and that's probably what I'm most proud of is just playing so solid. I think I just like the challenge of kind of harder golf courses."

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