Masters: Scottie Scheffler underprepared for parenthood but in contention for a 2nd green jacket

Scottie Scheffler watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round at the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
Scottie Scheffler watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round at the Masters. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Scottie Scheffler furrowed his brow as the questioner rambled onward.

Finally, after about 45 seconds, the reporter ended his meandering musing.

“So,” Scheffler started, “is the question that I should have won more majors?”

Why, yes, that is the question, the reporter answered.

On Thursday, during the first round of the Masters, Scheffler didn’t find incident or issue until the post-round news conference, his lack of multiple major victories in question within the walls of the club’s press building. On the course, he produced six birdies, no bogeys and a first-round 66 that has him in second place in his hunt for, yes, more majors.

He has played in 14 majors since 2020. He has nine top-10s, five top-4s, two runners-up and one victory. He's now the No. 1 ranked player in the world.

So, maybe he should have won more!?

“I've been asked a question like that before," the 27-year-old responded. "In my head, yeah, I should have won way more golf tournaments. Anytime I show up to a golf tournament, I'm hoping to win that golf tournament. If you ask Tiger Woods the same thing, he would say he hasn't won nearly as many golf tournaments as he should.”

Scheffler has won plenty, especially lately. He’s on quite the tear: eight top-10s in his past nine events, with two wins and a couple runner-ups. It’s a jaw-dropper of a stretch that has earned him more than $11 million in prize money.

He extended the run Thursday around a wind-blown Augusta, where the steady breezes were 10-15 mph and the gusts were more than 30. The gusting hit its peak right around the time Scheffler made the turn.

It didn’t seem to matter. He birdied four holes in a five-hole stretch on the back nine, starting with a hole-out from the bunker on the 12th. He had tap-in birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 and made up for his one real snafu of the day by pitching to 3 feet out of the creek area that fronts the 13th.

In a howling cross wind, he stuck his second shot on the par-5 15th to 12 feet. With the wind whipping at his back, he fired an 8-iron to 3 feet at the 170-yard 16th.

“I felt like today I just did a really good job [and caddie] Teddy [Scott] did a really good job of kind of guessing the wind correctly,” he said. “You know, we stole a few shots on the par 3s.”

Three shots, to be exact. He birdied the sixth, too.

How tough was Augusta on a windy day like Thursday? Just five players shot in the 60s. Scheffler played with Rory McIlroy (71) and Xander Schauffele (72), a trio that drew one of the biggest galleries of the day, with patrons eight deep at times.

McIlroy, the world's No. 2 player, and Schauffele, world No. 5, watched as Scheffler tamed this wind-swept monster.

“The conditions are tricky,” McIlroy said. “Had to fully commit to shots just because of the wind. It’s hard to commit to where the wind direction is at times.”

More wind is expected during Friday’s second round. Maybe that’s a good thing for Scheffler?

It feels like he’s on an invincible run of golf. In a span of a month, he won the Arnold Palmer and The Players and finished runner-up two weeks ago at the Houston Open.

In a stunning stat, he’s put together 37 consecutive rounds of golf at par or better. He hasn’t shot an over-par round since a 73 last August at the TOUR championship.

He’s done much of it knowing that fatherhood is upon him.

Meredith, his wife, is due any minute. He plans to withdraw from the Masters if she goes into labor this week. He’s more concerned with baby preparation than leaving this place.

“We are under prepared,” he said. “Nursery isn’t quite ready. We are very under prepared to be parents.”

He is prepared for Augusta, though. Scheffler has played 17 rounds here and shot 27 under par. That’s the third-lowest score through a player’s first 17 rounds on this course. In front of him are Jordan Spieth (-32) and Jon Rahm (-28); behind him are guys named Tigers Woods (-26) and Jack Nicklaus (-26).

Speaking of winning more majors, those latter two — Woods and Nicklaus — are second and first, respectively, in major championships in golf history.

Scheffler's got just the one — a green jacket in 2022 — but he's firmly in contention to win another.