Scottie Scheffler got his first win on the PGA Tour a month ago at the WM Phoenix Open. Less than two months later, he is the No.1-ranked golfer in the world after winning the WGC-Dell Match Play final over Kevin Kisner, handing Kisner his only defeat of the week, 4 and 3.
Though it is difficult to imagine Scheffler in the top spot instead of Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa or a plethora of other names we have become more familiar with, Scheffler has more than earned the ranking with his play of late.
For starters, Scheffler was in one of the deeper brackets with match-play maven Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, who took Scheffler six extra holes – tying the longest overtime in tournament history – before succumbing to a Scheffler birdie, allowing the now three-time tour winner to emerge from group play.
From there Scheffler took care of defending champion Billy Horschel – in a rematch of last year’s final – Seamus Power and then former world No.1 Dustin Johnson to reach the final.
In the final, Scheffler knocked an approach to eight feet (after Kisner stuffed it to three feet) at the first and made the putt to tie the hole. A 20-footer for birdie fell at the par-3 fourth and a sporty up-and-down at the par-5 sixth stretched the margin to 3 up, and Scheffler did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.
Ironically, in beating Kisner, Scheffler joined him as the only players to win the match play the year after losing in the final match.
To navigate the WGC-Match Play requires your complete game to be working but requisites are an off-the-tee and on-the-green game. Scheffler uses 8-degree TaylorMade new Stealth Plus driver with a Fujikura Ventus Black 7X shaft.
“I picked up a little ball speed and it goes as straight as my old one,” Scheffler told Golf Digest recently. “A new driver has to pass the eye test and this did. Since putting it in play I fiddled around with where I liked the movable weight on the sole, moving it about half an inch from the fade setting to a more neutral position.”
Scheffler’s Scotty Cameron by Titleist putter, which is longer than standard at 36 inches in length, also is relatively new, having gone in the bag before his win at the WM Phoenix Open. “It’s a similar style to what I used before, but the top line is a little thinner and it feels like it sits a little lower,” he said. “It’s obviously been working really well. I’ve always used something in that same general style. They gave me this one in Phoenix because they were tired of putting lead tape on my other one all the time to make it heavier. This one has the adjustable weights on the sole which makes getting the weight right easier.”
As opposed to winning the WGC-Match Play, which was anything but.
What Scottie Scheffler had in the bag at the WGC-Dell Match Play:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (Fujikura Ventus Black 7X), 8 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth, 16.5 degrees
Irons (3-4): Srixon ZU85; (5-PW): TaylorMade P7TW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (50, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM8 WedgeWorks prototype (60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist prototype