ESPN’s Curtis Strange, Andy North & Scott Van Pelt weigh in on Scottie Scheffler ‘crying like a baby’ ahead of winning the Masters

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Scottie Scheffler’s victory at the Masters was a watershed moment for the 25-year-old Texan who reached World No. 1 in March. But perhaps the most memorable moment of the week happened away from the course before Scheffler reached the first tee on Sunday and it wasn’t disclosed until he shared it with the world during his winner’s press conference.

I cried like a baby this morning,” he said. “I was so stressed out. I didn’t know what to do. I was sitting there telling (wife) Meredith, ‘I don’t think I’m ready for this. I’m not ready, I don’t feel like I’m ready for this kind of stuff, and I just felt overwhelmed.’ She told me, ‘Who are you to say that you are not ready? Who am I to say that I know what’s best for my life?’ And so what we talked about is that God is in control and that the Lord is leading me; and if today is my time, it’s my time. And if I shot 82 today, you know, somehow I was going to use it for His glory. Gosh, it was a long morning. It was long.”

2022 Masters
2022 Masters

Scottie Scheffler celebrates with his wife Meredith Scudder after winning the Masters golf tournament. (Photo: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

Scheffler went on to shoot 71 that afternoon and claim his first major. He’ll be one of the favorites at the 104th PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Speaking on a media conference call, ESPN analysts Curtis Strange and Andy North and ESPN lead anchor Scott Van Pelt discussed Scheffler’s brutal honesty and what it reveals about a player who seemed cool, calm and collected in ripping off his first four wins over a span of six starts.

“That’s an honesty we don’t get very often. That, to me, was shocking that anybody admitted that that’s where they were. In today’s world of mental health and people understanding how important maybe letting those feelings be known,” said North, who has served as ESPN’s main golf analyst for nearly 30 years. “I thought it was quite amazing, but initially it was a little bit shocking that, whoa, in the old days, no one would ever admit to that. But I think that’s the beauty of so many of the younger players and athletes and people who are focusing on how important it is to have serious discussions about how you feel.”

“My first reaction is wow, why would you say something like that?” Strange said. “I’m not going to say I ever cried in the morning and almost was overcome with emotion, but I spent a long time in the bathroom more than once. Is that the same difference?”

Strange broke into laughter.

Why would you say that?” Van Pelt interjected. “You’ve got a problem with a guy sharing his emotions? You’re telling people that you were on a toilet? No one wants to hear that.”

More laughter ensued.

“I thought it was awesome, Curtis, because here’s a guy that he has such a maturity that belies his age, and his outward, what he projects is that nothing fazes him,” Van Pelt said. “But here he is on that morning, and I think it’s that epiphany, that holy bleep moment. I’m in the last group, and I’m No. 1 in the world, and I’m supposed to win. Well, what if I don’t? Or am I really ready to do all this?”

“He was in Butler Cabin on Friday night,” Van Pelt continued, “and I asked him, I said, ‘Look, when you won in Phoenix and you won in Bay Hill, match play is different, but you weren’t leading.’ There’s a weight that comes with leading. I said, ‘I’m not trying to sell you on it’s bad to be up five on Friday. Of course it’s not. But now there’s expectation, and everyone’s looking at you.’

“It seems like come Sunday morning that weight landed firmly in his lap. I thought it was just fantastic that he shared how heavy it was. Then how did he respond? There he was in the Green Jacket. I just thought it gave you context that a guy who hadn’t shared with us much that he felt those things, and here he shared it with the world. Maybe it’s easier to do that when you’re wearing the jacket because now you can be truly honest about it. I thought it was really cool.”

It was certainly a revelation no one saw coming from Scheffler.