[PHOTO: Ross Kinnaird]

It’s hard to imagine that only eight months ago Scottie Scheffler had not yet won on the PGA Tour. He now has four victories compiled in a dominating 2021-2022 season that included his victory at the Masters, and it culminated during the weekend with the Texan being named the PGA Tour Player of the Year.

To make the day even sweeter, the Jack Nicklaus Award was handed out to Scheffler during ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast in Austin, Texas, before his alma mater, Texas University, hosted No.1 Alabama in American football.

The outcome of the vote by Scheffler’s PGA Tour brethren was a foregone conclusion, and the world No.1 garnered 89 percent of the first-place votes, with FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy and our own Cameron Smith also on the ballot. McIlroy notched two victories, while Smith won three times, including his first Major, the Open Championship, plus the Players Championship. The Queenslander, ranked No.2 in the world, has of course left the tour for LIV Golf.

Somewhat pointedly, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan noted in a prepared statement that Scheffler had “embraced the role as an ambassador of the PGA Tour and the game of golf”. Translation: the tour appreciates that one of its most prominent young standouts didn’t jump to the fledgling circuit backed by Saudi Arabia.

“With young stars like Scottie leading the way, the PGA Tour is in great hands for years to come,” Monahan said.

In capturing the award, Scheffler earned the distinction of being the only player to have been selected as the PGA Tour Player of the Year, PGA Tour Rookie of the Year (in 2020) and Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year (2019).

It shows just how far the 26-year-old Scheffler has risen in such a short period of time. And his victories on the PGA Tour came in an incredible burst over the span of six starts.

Already with three top-five finishes early in the 2021-2022 campaign, Scheffler broke through with his first PGA Tour victory in February at the WM Phoenix Open. Three weeks later, he hoisted the trophy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Three weeks after that, Scheffler beat Kevin Kisner to win the WGC–Dell Technologies Match Play, and the final triumph in the stretch came with a green jacket, as Scheffler forged a record-tying five-shot lead at the midpoint and went on to beat McIlroy by three strokes, with Smith tied for third.

In retrospect, Scheffler’s season will be considered among the greatest in the past several decades because it can be noted in the same breath as Tiger Woods, whom he joined as the only players in a single season to win at least four times while also capturing a Major and WGC title. Woods accomplished the feat in 1999 with eight wins.