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The 150th Open

Scottie Scheffler


World No.1 happy to be flying under the radar

Scottie Scheffler

It is unusual for a world No.1 to go under the radar but Scottie Scheffler feels he is doing just that as he looks to add the Claret Jug to the green jacket he has already earned in 2022.

Scheffler’s scintillating form this year has seen him surge to the top of the rankings, with his Masters triumph headlining a haul which also includes victories in the World Golf Championships-Dell

Technologies Match Play, Arnold Palmer Invitational and WM Phoenix Open.

He came close to landing another major at the US Open, sharing second behind Matt Fitzpatrick, but still feels a lack of expectation as he adjusts to his tag as the man to beat.

“I do not feel like there's any more pressure on me,” he said.

“Being the home of golf and The Open Championship definitely amplifies things a bit, but that's across the board.

“I don't think it matters if I am No.1 in the world or No. 50 in the world, I want to win this tournament as bad or more than anybody out here.

“I don't feel like there's any extra attention on me. I have not read much, but I would assume not everybody's picking me to win this week, just stuff like that.

“I don't think I was the favourite maybe going into the Masters. I am not sure if I've been the favourite maybe going into any tournaments.

“That may not be the true perception. That is just mine, but I do not read a ton of stuff. For me, I do not really feel like whatever being No. 1 would be.”

Scheffler’s mindset may not have changed as a result of his glut of silverware but the same cannot be said of his diary commitments.

And as he approaches the final major of the year, he admits he will give his calendar closer attention next season.

“It is definitely different,” he said. “I was talking to my wife at the beginning of this week, it is definitely different when I go out and play practise rounds and there's people around, and I come in here to do this stuff.

“Six months ago, I definitely was not asked to come in the press room unless I was winning.

“There is definitely a bit more activity going on at tournaments. That is something I am learning how to navigate. And I am kind of learning on the go right now.

“When I sit back this off-season, I will kind of assess how much I play and stuff like that, just because it takes more energy now to show up to an event than it did before.

“Before, I could come out here and not really have to do anything. Now things are a little different.

“But it is a fun different. It is fun to be able to come in here. It is fun to interact with fans during my practise rounds when things are a little bit lighter.”

Over the last decade, world No.1s have endured mixed fortunes at The Open, with Brooks Koepka’s T4 finish in 2019 the best a top-ranked player has performed since 2013.

Scheffler, who tied for eighth on his Open debut last year, is hoping to buck the trend while also continuing a theme linking success at Augusta and St Andrews.

Zach Johnson, Champion Golfer of the Year last time The Open was played on the Old Course in 2015, had won the Masters eight years earlier, while Tiger Woods famously won at both iconic venues in 2005.

Zach Johsnon 2015 St Andrews Claret Jug 1

In all, seven of the last nine Open Champions at St Andrews had previously won a Masters, which is a good omen for Scheffler to tap into during his first visit to the home of golf – a challenge he has prepared for by delving into the archives.

“Each Open, they have an hour long video where they do not show as much golf as I would like to see, but they show enough,” he said.

“I watched the coverage of when Zach won in '15 and the wind was a different direction. But I will sit and watch that stuff because I want to see where guys hit it.

“You can learn a lot from watching stuff like that. I did that before the Masters, too.

“What I always go back to is people telling all these legends where it is, like, one day I hit 5-iron, lob wedge into a hole.

“And the next day I hit driver, 3-wood because the wind was blowing so hard. You do not really believe it. Then you come out for the first time and see it, and you are like, wow, that makes complete sense.

“A lot of it is plotting your way around the golf course and trying to avoid the silly errors because you can all of a sudden get in one of these pot bunkers and it will take you three shots to get out.

“And all of a sudden you have wasted two shots on a single hole. At the end of the week, that is going to make a huge difference.”